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You are here Miller Family Index > Marie Rose Miller  07/02/14

Marie Rose Miller

By Michael R. Reilly


(View some of Marie's class pictures here)


Marie in 1st Grade, 1933

   Marie Rose Miller was born on October 16, 1927, the youngest child of William Jacob Miller Jr. and Margaret Mary Semrow.  Since she was born too late to start the 1st Grade right away in September , 1933, she was home-schooled by her family until after her 6th birthday, then attended 1st grade in November, 1933 at the old two-story wooden Lannon State Graded School house. 

    Marie's niece, Shirley Ann Arnold (nee Miller) recalled how she and her Aunt Marie would sit under the two mulberry bushes around the house and play dollies (probably around late 1930's to early '40's). Friend Shirley Wandsneider said that she and Marie also did this as children; she also mentions that they both helped Marie's father up at the school, probably her mother too in the library, and that Marie's father was very good-hearted, but Mrs. Miller would scold at times. They were both happy-go-lucky kids; and in the 3rd or 4th Grade they found another good friend - Lauretta (Loretta) Kolbeck nee Schneider.. Shirley Wandsneider also said that the Millers weren't the social type, belonging to Clubs and such, but neither did her parents.

    They moved over to the new school in 1939 to begin 7th grade. She graduated from 8th Grade in 1941 but continued her education through Lannon's 9th & 10th Grades. Marie didn't stop at 8th Grade nor did she after attaining her 10th Grade diploma; she went on to graduate from Menomonee Falls High School in 1945.

    Marie and best friend, Shirley Wandsneider, joined the School's Marching Band, under the direction of Mr. Phillips, during the Spring of '41 (band was started in 1939?) while still in 8th Grade. Marie played the clarinet.  Shirley said that Mr. Phillips formed bands in Merton, North Lake and Sussex as well, but Lannon was the center of activity. The combined school bands played at various events in other communities and in Lannon during Advancement Association/fire department  parades and picnics. They both continued playing in the band through Lannon 10th Grade graduation, then joined the Menomonee Falls High School band and Pep Club. As Shirley relates, "Playing in the Band and being in Pep Club wasn't like playing football where you only played three months out of the year; what we did was a full year's commitment."

    Marie and her good friend Shirley, visited Marie's sister Margaret in Chicago in 1942 and '43, staying there for about a week.  After Margaret graduated (10th Grade at Lannon) she got herself a "government job" through some program assisted by the high school and went off to Chicago for about three years. 

 Picture above was taken Aug. 1945, printed by Guaranteed Photo Service, 30 W. Washington St. Room ?, Chicago, 2 Ill. Shirley Wandsneider on the right, Marie on left.

       .Picture (actually a postcard, no date) to left--> Shirley, Margaret (in back), and Marie on the right

      During the Summer of 1944 (between their Jr. and Sr. years at MFHS) she and friend Shirley Wandsneider, and others, worked for the Snow White Garment Manufacturing Co. in Milwaukee making nurses' and Catholic school uniforms.  The summer before, in 1943, she was too young to work with Shirley, Marie Schultz and Shirley Risey at the Purity Treets Potato Chip factory, also in Milwaukee. Shirley explained that a local gentleman ( Mr. Mienyer?) drove them into Milwaukee everyday, picking  the girls up in Lannon, and dropping them off at work. He would then go out of his way to wait for them and pick them back up, after he got off work, and drive them home.

    After Marie graduated from high school, she worked for the American Appraisal company in downtown Milwaukee. later she switched jobs and went to Northwestern Mutual. She joined the Company choir late in 1945 (?) and sang with them until around 1952. When I interviewed my father in March 1994, one of the things that really impressed him was going to Christmas Eve midnight mass with her family, and Marie sang a solo. He said it was just beautiful, and he was so proud of her. Marie didn't only sing but played the clarinet as well. While still at Lannon, she played in Mr. Philipp's school marching band.

    Shirley DeLorm (nee Wandsneider, parents Otto G. and Viola) told me that she, Marie, and some others always did some nutsy things. In 1948, Wisconsin was celebrating their Centennial Anniversary (100 years of statehood). Marie, Shirley, Loretta (often times spelled Lauretta) Schneider(?), and and a friend from Northwestern Mutual decided to dress up, decorate her dad's '34 Chevy as a float and be in a Menomonee Falls parade. They all voted each other in as different characters; Shirley dressed as Miss 1848, one dressed as a fireman, another as a businessman, and Marie was "Miss Lannon 1948".  Marie's mother made the costumes for the girls. Shirley said that she and Marie dressed up like this once again (this time using sister Margaret's car?) and rode in a Lannon parade. Marie was unanimously voted "Miss Lannon 1948" by she and her friends, the first and only time the Village of Lannon had a "Miss Lannon".

    When I asked Shirley DeLorm if there was anything unusual about Marie, she said she didn't have any quirks, except for skating without any ice skates, just in her shoes. Shirley also mentioned that Marie's older brothers, Bill and John always looked after her (with Johnny being special to her),  but always teased her as well. They would call her "Schpandy", a nickname she hated, and she would call them "dandy dotillum dinks". (If what I heard from Shirley translates correctly)

    Marie first saw Robert (Bob) E. Reilly in the late Summer of 1950 at a baseball game in Lannon. She is supposed to have turned to her brother Bill and his wife Florence, and say something like, "That's the man I'm going to marry." About ten days later they met again at Ischy's Tavern in the Falls. Bob was trying to avoid a married woman from Milwaukee he had been seeing, so he, Marie, Joe Stitchen and his wife slipped out the back. This began their dating and courtship. For a while Bob stayed with Marie at her parents Lannon Home. Bob said it had three bedrooms upstairs and he was always being fed too much by Marie's mother. Her father was still trying to work as a janitor up at the school with help from his grandchildren; from Erv's (Marie's step-brother) and Hattie's marriage. 

Marie Rose Miller married to Robert Emmet Reilly, June 30, 1951 at St. James Church, Lannon, WI.. Front (left to right) -  niece Shirley Ann Arnold nee Miller, Loretta Kolbeck nee Schneider,  nephew John (Jack) J. Miller, niece Sandra (Sandy) Miller, Maid-of-Honor Shirley DeLorm nee Wandsneider, Mary (Mimi) Cermak nee Reilly; Back row (left to right) - brother John J. Miller, Thomas (Tom) Reilly,  sister Margaret Nowakowski nee Miller, Best Man (?), Marie, Robert (Bob), Roy Nowakowski, nephew Don E. Miller (Donny).


    After Marie and Bob married they took her car, a '47 Mercury, and headed up to northern Wisconsin, Upper Michigan and Minnesota for their honeymoon. Bob always said his first born son, Michael Robert, had a little Minnesota in him, being born nine months to the day. A few weeks before he was born, Marie's mother, Margaret Miller (nee Semrow) died on March 3rd. it was a tough month on her.

    Their first home was on Water St. in Menomonee Falls, north side of the street just up and over from Elmer Schneider's Tavern. They lived upstairs in a rented flat that just had a toilet and sink. The following year, they were able to move downstairs, after Laverne and Ellie Burg and family moved out. Ellie was a sister to Mary Burg who had married Bob's oldest brother Bill, so they were connected and got first dibs. They had Danny James Reilly later that year.

<--Picture to left shows Bob and Marie Reilly, son Mike in front of Bob, and Marie holding Danny (Dan), circa Spring of 1954. Salty had passed on, and Margaret and Roy Nowakowski were renting the old family house on Main St. in Lannon.


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