Carmen Strite Miller, 66, of Harrisonburg, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, at the University of Virginia Medical Center after a brief battle with cancer, thirteen days after the birth of her first grandchild, Imogen Mae Miller. Carmen was born Aug. 31, 1954, in Harrisonburg, the daughter of the late Lewis and Ethel Mae Showalter Strite.

Carmen was born a natural leader and organizer. In addition to the impeccable way in which she managed her household, she offered countless hours of volunteer leadership to her church and community. Her degree in economics from Goshen College in Indiana guided her commitments. As a member of Park View Mennonite Church, Carmen chaired their Finance Committee. She chaired the Board of Directors at Eastern Mennonite School, her alma mater, and served on the Boards of Directors for Park View Federal Credit Union, Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, Sentara RMH Foundation, and Massanutten Regional Library.

Carmen invested the best of her life in her family. Nothing was as important to her as her husband of 42 years, Edgar Miller, and their two daughters Caitlin (Andrew Ickes) and Courtney (Dirk Miller). Carmen and Edgar’s home has been a hub of hospitality, where good food and quick wit prevailed. To say Carmen was a good cook is a vast understatement. She loved new recipes and honored traditional food, equally at home making Spanish paella and Virginia country ham, and she and Edgar served meals with attention to detail. Their table was at the heart of many significant conversations and relationships, including those of her family — her sister, Elaine Strite (John Viste) and her brother, Gerald (Sharon) Strite and their children — and their beloved Supper Club, who met weekly for over 40 years. Carmen was like a second mom to many of her daughters’ friends, and they too found a place at her table.

Her keen eye made her an excellent quilter, birder, golfer, gardener, reader and travel buff. Carmen loved to shop for fabrics while on vacation and created stunning quilts. Precision and passion ruled her quilting practice. She especially enjoyed sewing at the family cabin on Shenandoah Mountain where she would listen for whippoorwills, enjoy the beauty of the mountain laurel and watch for black bears. Evenings on the mountain found her with a book in hand — a novel, a book of poetry, or a travel guide.

Quilting fed her roots; travel grew her wings. Nurtured by childhood travels, Carmen was always waiting for the next adventure. From the mountains of Switzerland to the power of the Amazon, from the Christmas markets of Germany to the Pyramids of Egypt, Carmen delighted in sharing stories and photos of new landscapes, famous buildings and lovely surprises.

A memorial service will be conducted at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 7, 2021, at Park View Mennonite Church with Pastors Phil Kniss and Paula Stoltzfus officiating. The sanctuary will be closed to the public. The service will be live streamed at: www.pvmchurch.org/carmenstritemiller.

Interment will be private at Trissels Mennonite Church Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 5, 2021, at Park View Mennonite Church. Face coverings will be required at all times, and strict COVID protocol will be observed.

Memorial contributions may be made in Carmen’s memory to: Park View Mennonite Church Compassion Fund, Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community Compassion Endowment, or to Eastern Mennonite School and the Carmen Strite Miller Leaders Scholarship.

Guest book and condolences may be shared at: www.pvmchurch.org/carmenstritemiller.

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