Graduating early and With Distinction from the Southwestern Louisiana Institute in Lafayette, Grace worked as a teacher at her alma mater, Mamou High School, until her life-long wanderlust drew her to New Orleans. There she met and married Bill G. Davis in 1949 and moved to Oklahoma, where she provided most of the support for the family while Bill got his degree in Geology. She then concentrated on their growing family, managing four children and households in foreign lands and new languages as they moved overseas from one oilfield to the next.
Grace and Bill finally settled in Phoenix, Arizona, where Grace became a Remedial Reading teacher at Saints Simon and Jude School.
Every second summer determined that her children should know their extended family, Grace would load the four wriggling, whining kids into the car and drive long days (but never more than two mph over the speed limit!) across the deserts of three states to spend time with relatives in Texas and Louisiana.
In 1975, Grace left teaching to work with her husband in their small manufacturing business. After he suffered a debilitating heart attack, Grace took over as CEO, dealing with mechanics and the IRS, bank managers and salesmen, each in their own jargon about their own subjects. When she needed to know something, whether about the design of an oil valve or the terms of a contract, she would study into the night until she knew it cold.
Grace grew that business by over half a million dollars within 10 years while tending an ailing husband until his death in 1987. In 1991, Grace sold the company and eagerly moved into an active retirement. She played expert bridge and volunteered at the Washington Adult Center, for which she was twice recognized by the City of Phoenix.
She served as Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist and participated in Bible Study at her church; she studied literature and Party Piano at the junior college; and she traveled. One of her most memorable trips was to the Oberammergau Passion Play in 2000. Sadly in 2004, Grace suffered a stoke and agreed to move to Washington State to be near her daughter. Redoubtable as ever, she continued to engage in life as fully and as long as her deteriorating health allowed, living independently until a fall made it unsafe. In the end, most else had fallen away, but Grace’s faith had been a source of strength and support for her whole life. To the last week of her life, her continued attendance at Sunday Mass, rain or shine, made her an icon to many. To the end, she lived her motto, “Forward ever, backward never.”
Grace is preceded in death by her parents, Cleophas Miller and Isabelle Michot Miller; her daughter, Lynne Davis; her husband, Bill G. Davis; and her siblings Freida Miller Thomas, Quentin Miller, Roderick Miller and Ludger Miller.
She is survived by her children Mark Davis, Paula Davis Christiansen, and Brian Davis; by her grandchildren Ravi, Bethany, Alexis and Devon Davis; Zach and Nate Christiansen; and by her siblings Eugene Miller, Elaine Miller Richardson, and Ione Miller Villars.
The Funeral Mass … in Kirkland, WA, … a second Memorial Mass … in Louisiana.
(Arizona Republic, Phoenix, AZ, 09 Nov 2008)
More about her and her family in the Antoine Miller & Augustine P. Manual Louisiana 2021 Family 600+ page book.