Louise Elizabeth Hawkey Miles, 94, of Belvidere, IL passed away on Saturday, May 25, 2019 at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, IL. She was born in Belvidere, Illinois, January 6, 1925 the only child of Lewis R. and Elizabeth M. (Heller) Hawkey. She married Forrest N. Miles, June 6, 1948 in the Chapel of First Presbyterian Church House in Belvidere. They resided in Belvidere all of their married lives and in their present home since 1953. Louise is survived by daughters, Julia Louise and husband Jim Thorius, Carlisle, Iowa and Elizabeth Anne (Betsy) Stevens of Belvidere. Five Grandsons, Matthew Scott Stevens (Teresa), Belvidere; Joshua Lewis Stevens (fiancé Tisha Kimble), Heyworth, IL; Christopher Jon Stevens (Aygul), Van Nuys, CA; Jacob Miles Thorius (Erin), Washington, IA; Jeremiah James Thorius (Jessica), Ankeny, IA; one Granddaughter, Jessica Rose Williams (Kelly), Lakeville, MN and Great Grandchildren - Robin Louise Stevens, Carson Forrest Stevens, Kaleb Dennis Williams, Meredith Anne Stevens, Adelyn Rose Williams, Jordan Miles Thorius, Jayse Dean Thorius, Charlie Rais Stevens, Chulpan Lou Stevens, Easton James Thorius, and Mercedes (daughter Everly) Chilson, and Natasha Chilson. She was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Forrest Nichols Miles; her parents Elizabeth and Lewis and her step-mother Esther Grier Hawkey.
Louise attended the one room rural Avery School, west of Belvidere, for 8 years and graduated from Belvidere High School in 1942. During World War II she worked for the Selective Service System of Boone County (1942-1946). She later worked for the Rockford Chamber of Commerce and the Social Security Administration. She lived at her parents’ farm home until she married.
Following nine years at home to start a family, Louise became a Real Estate Broker for 15 years. She had her own business: Louise Miles, Realtor. At the request of Belvidere High School Principal McAllister, she taught classes in adult education at BHS on Real Estate Principles during those years. She served as President of the Belvidere Board of Realtors in 1970. She continued in sales work at H.C. Prange Co. until her retirement in 1986.
Louise began attending First Presbyterian Church Sunday School at age 3. She made her confession of Christian faith at First Presbyterian Church, Belvidere, April, 1939. She has been a member of Faith Circle since 1960 and prior to that was a member of Dorcas Society. She was also active in Spares and Pairs. She has served the church as a Deacon, an Elder, Clerk of Session and as a member of the Pastor Nominating Committee in 1987.
Louise was a member of the Boone County Board of Supervisors from 1982-1992 and served as the first female vice chairman, 1986-90. She served on the Boone County Board of Health 8 years, was a charter and 25 year member of Belvidere Zonta Club, Life member of Boone County Historical Society, Highland Hospital Auxiliary and VFW Auxiliary. She was active in Girl Scouts, Band Parents, and PTA and held various offices in these groups. Louise was also a member of Avery Fidelity Club, Boone County Arts Council, Charter Member of Main Street Players, Life member of Maple Crest Auxiliary, Boone County Council on Aging Auxiliary, Friends of the Library, former member of the Kishwaukee Riverfront Development committee, and a member of Belvidere Women’s Club for over 75 years. Louise was a charter member of Boone County Saddle Club and their first secretary. She was also a member of the Boone County Republican Club; member of the Washington D.C. Heritage Foundation, supported the Republican Party at the State and National level; and was currently serving on the Belvidere Cemetery Board.
Louise loved flowers and was a member of After Five Gardeners and past president of Woman’s Garden Clubs of Boone County. As a child she enjoyed being a “cow-girl” and rode horseback driving the family’s milk cows along Newburg Road, north to near Newburg for pasture each morning and home in the evening. As a youth she was a member of the Newburg Clippers 4-H Club.
For 65 years she had a pen pal, Iris Passmore, York, England. They finally met in 1981, when Iris and husband Captain Bert Passmore came here for a visit. In 1983, Louise and Forrest went to England for a three week visit. She and Forrest loved to travel and did so extensively throughout the entire United States and Canada. Throughout the years, Forrest was a member of the China-Burma-India Veterans Association and they traveled together to many cities for their annual convention. The last one being in 2005 in Washington, D.C. to see the recently completed World War II Veteran’s Memorial.
Beginning in 1991, they wintered at Venture Out, Mesa, Arizona for about 20 years. There Louise participated in many special activities and clubs. She was especially devoted to participating in a weekly worship service at East Mesa Care Center where she led the prayers of the residents many years. Louise also enjoyed Bocce Ball and participated in league play, she was in the kitchen band and also served as president of the sewing club.
Louise continued to live in the family home after Forrest died with assistance from Shirley Griffin, Karen Cross, Alexandra Starr, Jinx Johnson and her daughters. With the assistance of friends Bev Gibson and Shirley Mills she was able to enjoy numerous activities outside of the home including Low Vision meetings. In her later years she enjoyed taking painting classes at the Boone County Keen Age Center with Donna Thomas. Recent health issues the past seven months required her to be at Maple Crest Care Centre until her passing at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center.
Louise believed that “her cup runneth over” with the blessings she has received from the Lord, the gift of her husband, her daughters, Jim, the dearly loved grandchildren and all of the dear, dear great-grandchildren. She dearly loved all of her nieces, nephews and cousins. Louise found peace and contentment in her life, her faith, her family and her home.
Louise saw a funeral as one of the few personal events when no one is invited, but all should be able to come. In a very real way, a funeral service recognizes not only that death has occurred, but also that a life has been lived – a full life with family and friends.
A visitation will be held on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at First Presbyterian Church in Belvidere, IL from 9:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. (with the family present from 9:30 A.M. to 11:00 A.M.). A funeral service will begin at 11:00 with Rev. Dr. Robert R. Kopp officiating. Memorials can be made to the family and will be directed to some of the many organizations in which Louise was active.
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