Bess was born in Huntingdon, England, to Alfred and Mary Cooper. As a teenager, she lived in a time when her country was immersed in World War II. By the early 1940s, the “Yanks” started to arrive. In 1944, she met the love of her life, Melvin - at her cousin’s wedding. Melvin was the best man and serving in the 8th Airforce at a nearby airfield.
On Nov. 14, 1945, they were married in Meltham Mills, England. They lived in the small village of Bildenson near Melvin’s base until his unit was returned to the United States in April 1946. Bess followed two months later on a ship filled with excited “war brides.”
Bess and Melvin farmed near Norfolk for six years. During that time, they were blessed with three children, Caroline (who joined her Savior three months after her birth), Sally and Jim.
In 1953, the family moved to York. In 1962, they moved to England for two years to be with Bess’ family. In 1964, the family moved back from England to Seward so Sally and Jim could attend Concordia High School and eventually Concordia Teacher’s College.
In their early years in Seward, Bess worked at Seward Memorial Hospital, followed by decades of service to Concordia University – serving as the university’s “Post Mistress.” She was well known to everyone on campus. Students were excited when they received their letters and packages from Bess along with her kind words of interest and encouragement.
For more than 60 years, Bess was a gracious host at 144 E. Moffitt. She welcomed university presidents, faculty, staff, countless students and friends to their table for tea where they enjoyed her delicious baking.
When people mention Bess, they always mention her hospitality, smile and genuine interest in them. That carried over to years of dedicated service at St. John with the LWML, Altar Guild, Stephen Ministries, countless visits to shut-ins and so much more.
Bess was preceded in death by their daughter, Caroline and husband Melvin. She is survived by daughter, Sally Miller; son, Jim Miller, wife Sheryl; granddaughter, Katie Fremont, husband Scott; great-grandsons, Cooper and Teddy; grandson, David Miller, (Idania Oscari); great-grandchildren, – Damon, Jackie and Draven.
Visitation is 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, at Volzke Funeral Home in Seward and the funeral service is at 10 a.m., Monday, Dec. 14, at St. John Lutheran Church. Memorials in care of the Elizabeth B. and Melvin G. Miller Endowment Fund at Concordia University Nebraska. Condolences may be left for the family at www.volzkefuneralhome.com.