Barbara Ann Miltenberger, age 84 years, of Niles, Michigan; wife, mother, grandmother, banker, runner, and fair volunteer passed away at 4:13 p.m. on Friday, November 20, 2020 at Riveridge Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in Niles following an extended illness. Her family is grateful for the months of care provided by the staff of Caring Circle Hospice at Home.
Barbara was born October7, 1936 in Evansville, Indiana, to C. Richard & Mabel (Hillis) Hill. During her childhood, the family moved throughout the Midwest to follow her father’s career as a manager for Montgomery Ward, before finally settling on the family farm they purchased north of Niles in Sumnerville.
Barb was graduated from Niles High school, where she met Charles (Chuck) Miltenberger. They were married on the family farm on November 19, 1955 and celebrated 65 years together.
Early in their married life Barb was a bank teller at First National Bank in Niles, but left that position to raise her family and help tend to the farm. Part of her agricultural chores included raising thousands of chickens to sell their eggs to Kroger, helping tend to the dairy herd and doing field work including crop harvest and then burning the field stubble and crop residue – sometimes better controlled than other times. She loved doing farm work as she was a farm girl at heart and especially driving her beloved Farmall 706 tractor.
Barb’s interest in rural life included attending the North Niles Home Economic Club and volunteering at the Berrien County Youth Fair in the Dairy Barn and as a clerk at the Showman Sweepstakes.
She was formerly an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Niles where the funeral luncheon committee could always count on her contribution of cheesy potato casserole and pistachio jello salad (until she tried to teach Chuck how to make it). Those kitchen skills were appreciated at home, especially a cookie jar perpetually full of fresh chocolate chip cookies.
After many years the farm was sold and Barb returned to the work force, retiring from Huntington Bank after more than 25 years of service. She was especially proud of her record of accuracy of balancing to the penny, a feat that didn’t go unnoticed at Huntington, receiving a recognition gift of flowers on many occasions from the bank.
Barb bowled for several years on many bowling leagues throughout Niles, golfed on the women’s league at Plym Park, several clubs and a member of the Southwestern Michigan Running Club. Barb and Chuck traveled to many places – Hawaii, Banff, and many mystery weekend destinations with the Running Club but her favorite was the Grand Canyon and Sedona Arizona area which they visited several times. She completed the Chicago Half-Marathon, and ran several Madison (Wisconsin) Marathons. More recently the running club has met at Lindy’s Restaurant in Cassopolis, and the Golden Nugget in Niles.
Barbara is survived by her husband, Charles and their sons, Barry (& Susan) Miltenberger of Buchanan, Michigan and David (& Stacy) Miltenberger of Marshall, Michigan; grandchildren; Stephanie (& Scott) Berzai, Ashley (& Jason) Matthews, Allison Miltenberger, Kelsey Miltenberger, Kyle (& Alyssa) Miltenberger, Jarrod Adams, Jordan Adams, and Alyssa Taylor; great-grand daughter Maisy Matthews; Barb’s sisters, Nancy (& James) King of Hudsonville, Michigan and Cynthia Jensen of Columbus, Ohio; and several nieces and nephews. She was sadly preceded in death by a great-grandson, Micah Matthews, by her parents, and by a 5-year-old brother John Hill.
Twenty-five family members and relatives of Barbara Miltenberger will gather at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at The Old Rugged Cross Church in Pokagon, for her funeral service with fellow running club member the Rev. Thomas Janssen of the First Spiritual Church of Prayer in South Bend, Indiana officiating. Committal will follow at the Sumnerville Cemetery. Friends may witness the services via the livestreamed broadcast on the Halbritter-Wickens Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/halbritterwickensfuneralservices/ . Contributions in memory of Barbara may be made to The Old Rugged Cross Foundation, Inc., Post Office Box 41, Niles, Michigan, 49120, http://www.the-oldruggedcross.org/ ; or to the Berrien County Youth Fair, 9122 U.S. 31, Berrien Springs, Michigan, 49103, https://bcyf.us/ . Online condolences may be left at:
Barb lived a remarkably active life – work, the farm, running, volunteering – and that activity was always about people, whether teaching new tellers, providing food, group sports, the church and the fair. She has clearly run a good race, without falter or fail, and the lives of all who have cheered her on are better for her success.