Alene Miller 87 of Indianapolis passed away on February 27, 2008. She was a Depression Era kid who learned early on to make the best of any situation and she grew up with raisin pie, small-town values and a loving environment. If she'd had the money for college, it would have been Northwestern because she had a passion, as well as a gift, for writing. She also had an artistic side and became an accomplished oil painter. But Alene Miller's lot in life turned out to be like many 1950s women. She made a career out of taking care of her husband, raising two children, dishing out common sense and providing all of them with a wonderful life. It was family first and Alene second in almost everything. Growing up in the tiny town of Converse with not much money, her dad operated a bakery and all she ever wanted was a bicycle. But they couldn't afford one so she swapped doughnuts and cookies for rides on a friend's set of wheels. The first boy she really liked turned into love as a skinny kid with an infectious smile stole her heart at Marion High School. They got married and took a train to Chicago for their honeymoon before World War II came calling. When Bob Miller got his marching orders, he called his bride to give her the news but she was sobbing uncontrollably until he managed to yell "San Francisco" and calm her down. Big Bob was being shipped out for his Navy duty in the City by the Bay and they cherished their three years riding bikes over the Golden Gate Bridge and hopping trolley cars. It was during that period Alene learned how to drive. Sort of. She answered a want ad and the job included driving a company car. Asked if she knew how to handle a stick shift, she defiantly answered yes and then spent the next eight hours gnashing her teeth and grinding gears. Following the war, Bob got a job at Indiana Bell and their first child (a son) arrived in 1949. A daughter followed four years later and that was everything the Millers had hoped for. The kids never wanted for affection, attention or encouragement as mom was always waiting when they got home from school. The boy squandered the college chances his mother never had but was rescued when he landed a job at The Indianapolis Star. Mom was proud because she'd always dreamed of deadlines, the city room bustle and making a living with a pen and typewriter. But the real joys of her life came when daughter Diane married Tom Zachary and they delivered two darling granddaughters -- Emily Rose and Ashley Suzanne. Alene helped them learn to read, write and draw pictures while she smothered them in love like only a grandmother can. As she and Bob reached their 80s, they continued to enjoy the '60s sitcoms and doting on their extended family, which now included Josh (married to Emily). Several of her fingers were bent from arthritis, her appetite was non-existent and she suffered from insomnia but as Bob began having health issues, Alene became a care-giver supreme. At 85 pounds, she still insisted on raking leaves, picking up sticks, sweeping the sidewalk daily, driving to the store and making sure he took his medicine. Still a voracious reader, her other hobby was reading the notes and quotes she'd kept when Emily and Ashley were growing up. Or all the short stories she'd written about them but never sent to Reader's Digest. She loved to reminisce on the phone with lifelong best friend Marietta or niece Susie, re-read all her mysteries and write letters to her granddaughters. She never missed sending birthday cards to everyone in her address book and still insisted on giving her 58-year-old son a Valentine. She dressed like June Cleaver, ran her household like Donna Reed and was as stubborn as Granny on the Beverly Hillbillies. She had a fear of flying, never met a pair of shoes she liked, made backseat driving an art, harbored a general distrust of most foods and was a world-class worry wart. But there was never a kinder, more thoughtful soul on this planet. She should be remembered as an old-fashioned gal who appreciated the simpler things in life and always put her family's needs ahead of her own. She finally left us after 87 years and, unquestionably, she left us all better people. Her viewing will be Monday, March 3 from 4 to 8 p.m. at G.H. Herrmann Madison Avenue Funeral Home, 5141 Madison Avenue and the service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 4 at the Southport Presbyterian Church, 7525 McFarland. In lieu of flowers please make donations to the National MPS Society, Megan's special Helping Hands Ministries account and Dancer's Miracle Network.