Sister Patricia Miller, CHM, 91, died Saturday, July 1, 2023, at Senior Star Memory Care Center in Davenport, IA. Mass of Christian Burial will be Saturday, July 8, 2023 at 11:00am at Humility of Mary Center, 820 W Central Park Ave., Davenport. Visitation will be held on Friday, July 7, 2023 from 4:00-7:00pm, at Humility of Mary Center. Rosary will be held Friday at 4:00pm and a Vigil Service will be held at 7:00pm. Burial will be in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Davenport. Halligan-McCabe-DeVries Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
Patricia Jean Miller was born August 29, 1931, in Albion, NE, to Roy and Alma (Ranslem) Miller. She attended Fremont High School, Fremont, NE and had a year of college at Midland College, Fremont. Pat earned her RN from St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing, Omaha, NE, in 1952 and completed a BSN at Creighton University, Omaha, in 1954.
She entered the Congregation of the Humility of Mary in 1955, professed vows in 1958 and received her religious name, Sister Mary Alma. After professing final vows, she earned her MSN at Catholic University, Washington, DC, in 1964 and her PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, in 1974.
Sister began her teaching career as an instructor at St. Joseph Hospital, Omaha, 1953-55 and, after entering the Congregation, continued as an instructor at St. Joseph Hospital in Ottumwa, IA. She served from 1970-1972 in the nursing department of Marycrest College, Davenport. By that time, she had resumed use of her baptismal name, Patricia, or most of the time, “Sister Pat”. After completing her PhD, she began a 23-year service at the University of Nebraska College of Nursing in Omaha, NE, in various roles including Professor of Nursing, Chair of the Graduate Program in Nursing, and the Florence Niedfelt Professorship, an Endowed Research Chair. From 1989-1997, she was Professor and Chair of the Nursing Department at Briar Cliff College, Sioux City, IA. Sister Pat then served as a volunteer parish nurse at St. Patrick Parish in Fremont, NE, from 1997-2000 while also caring for her mother. After her mother’s death, Sister Pat moved to Davenport, IA and became a volunteer hospice and homebound caregiver for Our Lady of Victory Parish from 2000-2004.
Over the years, she served on and/or chaired many committees for her religious community. During her term as Vice President of the Congregation, 2004 - 2008, she also served as Board Chair of Humility of Mary Housing, Davenport.
With the support of multiple research grants, Sister completed several long-term research projects, made presentations at academic and research conferences and gave more than 40 workshops. She served as a curriculum consultant for eight colleges and medical centers. She received more than a dozen awards and honors in recognition of her achievements and service in both the nursing and education fields. As one of her students remarked, “She was an awesome teacher.” With dozens of publications in medical and education journals, and having advised more than 60 graduate and doctoral students, her impact on the nursing profession is widespread and continues.
In retirement, she still made her voice heard. As a member of Progressive Action for the Common Good, a bi-state advocacy group, she worked to highlight deficiencies in the American healthcare system. She wrote and spoke in favor of healthcare reform, supported the 2012 Nuns on the Bus tour, and in 2014 she led a CHM initiative to provide clean water to rural communities in Tanzania. She believed that access to necessary healthcare is a fundamental right of all persons, a moral obligation that she supported and worked for all her life.
Sister Pat is preceded in death by her parents, sister-in-law, Sarah Miller and niece, Paula Miller. She is survived by a brother, Donald (Bud) Miller, nephews Patrick, David (Jeanann), and Don (Tracy) Miller as well as sisters and associates of her religious community.
Memorials may be made to the Congregation of the Humility of Mary.