Kathy Beyersdorf Miller, 78, Marshall’s beloved community servant, cheerleader and supporter died suddenly on Saturday, April 30th at her home from an accidental fall.
Kathy was born on September 23rd 1943 in Menominee, Michigan to Herbert Beyersdorf Jr. and Arline (Tessier) Beyersdorf.
Kathy lived in Franklin and Jasper, IN prior to moving to Comstock, MI where she graduated from Comstock High School in 1961, third in her class.
While in high school Kathy met Ralph K. Miller Jr. and they became sweethearts. Their love grew and they married on July 22, 1961 in Kalamazoo at St. Mary Catholic Church. They were loving life partners all 62 years.
After their marriage they lived in Kalamazoo, then Comstock. Kathy and Ralph moved to Marshall in the mid-1960's. They relocated to Arlington, Texas from Marshall in 1981, returning to Marshall in 1994.
Kathy had worked at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds promoting and supporting the oldest county fair in Michigan. She was a familiar face at the Ad-Visor Chronicle office for many years, greeting you cheerfully when you entered! She had several administrative jobs at Marshall businesses including Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce, working for Craig Darling and Whitey Wakenight (where she served as "acting" Chamber Exec between their tenures), and Marshall Brass.
In Arlington she worked with her mentor, Lynn Meservey as a Daycare Center Director, ending her career as Regional Manager with 19 centers over several states prior to moving back to Marshall. After returning to their beloved community of Marshall, Kathy also worked at Marshall RV, the Belcher family businesses and the Binder Park Zoo.
Her lifetime of service to our community makes you wonder how she packed 30 hours of work into a 24-hour day. Kathy was an active member both on the local and state levels for the Jaycee Women’s Auxiliary in the late 1960’s and 1970’s including serving as State Secretary. Ralph was a member of Marshall Jaycees during that time as well, and together they made close lifelong friends amongst fellow members.
Kathy and Ralph were a part of the Foster Parent program, fostering several children over their years in Marshall.
She was instrumental in the creation of Marshall’s Calhoun County Relay for Life event, where she served several years as Chairperson. Kathy was the first Chairperson to raise over $100,000 during the event. She challenged her team captains that she’d let them shave her head if they raised $100,000 and, in a record-setting fundraising effort, she lost her hair! In recognition of her dedication, her sister Karen, and daughter Chris, shaved their heads as well! During the Relay years in Marshall, she became the now-famous “Purple Fairy”!
She served Marshall as an elected member of Marshall’s City Council in the At-Large Representative seat from 2009 to 2016. Kathy continued to serve as a member of the Board of Review.
She received the Minuteman Award from Governor Milliken, Marshall Chamber’s Woman of The Year Athena Award and The Charles F. Hayes Award, along with many other awards and recognitions.
Kathy was the champion and significant fund raiser for Marshall’s new Senior Center at the K-Mart Plaza. She volunteered at the Annual Brooks Field Fly-In Pancake Breakfast.
She was instrumental in the vision and creation of the Marshall Farmer’s Market where she served on their Advisory Board. Kathy worked at the market every week, soliciting talent to perform and worked to attract faithful market vendors.
Kathy was the Grand Marshal of the 2021 Marshall Christmas parade, riding in a horse drawn carriage with her beloved Ralph on a beautiful snowy night. She told her husband, Ralph, it was one of her favorite experiences.
Surviving are her husband Ralph; daughter Christine (Paul) Schuette of Marshall, daughter-in-law Lee Ann Miller, grandchildren Josh (Rebecca Lehmann) Frye, Jamey (Ryan) Heemer, Ashly (Tara) Richardson and Aleasha (Alex) Bruinekool and great-grandchildren Nolyn Wyatt, Kaleb and Bella Heemer, Asa and Zephyr Lehmann-Frye; her beloved sisters Pat Thompson, Susan Beach and Karen Fritz; her former sons-in-law Phil Frye and Glenn Barner; many nieces and nephews; special friends too numerous to mention and her sweet and loving furry companion, Wille.
She was preceded in death by their son Stephen H. Miller in 2020, her father Herbert Beyersdorf Jr. in 2007 , her mother Arline Beyersdorf in 2006 and foster daughter Clifena Yellowfox-Barner.
Friends may call at Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services, 723 US HWY 27 North, Marshall on Thursday May 5 from 3PM to 5PM and 6PM to 8PM where the family will be present to greet friends and share memories. Refreshments will be in the Reception Hall for family and friends.
Kathy was a beloved friend, mentor, and confidante to so many. To her family she was their matriarch, their rock and their inspiration. Their grief knows no bounds.
So that her family can have their time to say goodbye, a private graveside service for family will be held on Saturday at Oakridge Cemetery.
A public celebration of her life will be announced later for all, in true Kathy style!
In memory of Kathy please visit www.kempffuneralhome.com to leave a contribution to help with all the expenses incurred during their illnesses and at this time. All money collected beyond Kathy’s funeral expenses will be given to Ralph to help.
Visit www.kempffuneralhome.com to sign the on line guest register and leave a donation.
Please click on the “Donations” link to the top right of her on obituary on the website or make a check payable to Ralph Miller and drop it off at the funeral home. Or mail it to “Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services, P.O. Box 519, Marshall, MI 49068 RE: Kathy Miller”