Hilda Fern (Schantz) Miller-Pezzana, age 86, of Hyde Park, Pennsylvania entered into eternal peace on Friday, August 28, 2020, at Allegheny General Hospital while surrounded by her children. She was born April 8th, 1934 to the late Guyer T. Schantz, Sr. and Sarah Ellen Taylor-Schantz.
She was born in Braeburn, the 7th of 11 children and remained there 7 years, until moving to various other homes in the Valley. Although her childhood wasn’t easy (the separation of her father left the care of the children to her Mother), it was one filled with much love and family. As each married and moved away, they continued that bond and would get together often with their families. She raised her children in the same manner, surrounding them with love and family.
Known for her ease in frequent conversation with even total strangers, some may be surprised to learn of the extreme shyness of her youth. Yet even as a child, she possessed a contagious smile and an entertaining sense of humor. Throughout her life she maintained a sweet and simple demeanor that won the trust and hearts of many, who even now are being changed by her witness of constant nurturing love and faith. Her signature gift of joy, shown through her constant smiling, laughter, and joking around, will never be forgotten.
After attending Leechburg High School, she met her sweetheart, Samuel E. Miller, Sr., during a dance at The Grange Hall in Shay. The couple was married the following year on March 31, 1953 at the Justice of the Peace in Winchester, Virginia. Married for 30 years, Hilda and Sam raised their six dear children, Samuel, Jr., Diane, Robert, Sarah, JoAnne, and Timothy. They lived over the years in Leechburg and finally settled in Hyde Park where he worked in the foundry, and she remained at home a loving Mother and housewife. Possessing a true servant’s heart, Hilda faithfully cared for family through delicious cooking/baking from scratch, sewing, and knitting. A woman of faith and the heart of the Miller family, Hilda shaped their spirituality by her tireless Christian example, and also through various prayer groups and activities. With a real zest for life, Hilda loved to sing, read, pray, and play games – especially with her grandchildren – talk daily on the phone with her family, and travel…just to name a few.
After Sam Sr’s passing in November of 1983, Hilda’s world was turned upside down until love, and God, led her and Mario Pezzana to unite in marriage in 1985. They continued to remain in Hyde Park and enjoyed 29 years of marriage until he passed in 2004. She then moved to live with her daughter in Leechburg until succumbing to a stroke in 2017. Hilda survived an additional stroke, which affected her mobility (but not her whit), yet her strong will to live, unwavering faith in God, and the love and prayers of family, friends, and many supporters carried her through. Even during her own struggles, she continued to reach out to family and keep them close. Her son, Timothy Miller, lived with, and lovingly cared for her the last four years of her life, and the family gives him, and everyone else who cared for her, their greatest and warmest gratitude.
Survivors include two sons, Robert C. Miller of Ft. Meyers, FL, Timothy A. Miller of Leechburg; three daughters, Diane (Terry) Bollinger of Apollo, Sarah (Dennis) Simon of Natrona Heights, and JoAnne Miller (fiancé William Walker) of Leechburg; 16 grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren; two brothers, Guyer (Althea) Schantz of Cleveland, Ohio, and Edward (Carole ) Schantz of Hyde Park; nieces and nephews, and numerous other relatives.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husbands, Samuel E. Miller, Sr. and Mario Pezzana; two sons, Samuel E. Miller, Jr. and David Clayton Miller; two brothers, Harold (‘Butch’) and David Schantz; and five sisters, Betty Martilotti, Gloria McCullum, Helen Benemann, Catherine (Coke) Waldenville, Gwendolyn Bowser, and Mary Waldenville.
A viewing will be held from 6-8 PM on Tuesday, September 1st, and from 10-11 AM on Wednesday, September 2nd until the time of service at 11:00 AM at the North Apollo Church of God, 507 20th Street, North Apollo, PA with Reverend David Watkins officiating. Interment will be private at the convenience of the family. Arrangements have been entrusted to Clawson Funeral & Cremation Center, 170 Main St., Leechburg, 724-842-1051. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be sent in her name to Lupus Foundation.
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