Eva Pearl Miller, 91, helped build Liberty ships

March 08, 2003|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Eva Pearl Miller, who helped build Liberty ships in Baltimore during World War II and later worked as an accounting department clerk, died of heart failure Wednesday at Frederick Villa Nursing Home in Catonsville. She was 91.

Born Eva Pearl Ipock, she was raised in Cove City, N.C., where she graduated from high school.

She moved to Baltimore in 1931 after her marriage to Joseph M. Trhlik, who operated the Pennington Avenue Ice and Coal Co. The marriage ended in divorce.

During World War II, Mrs. Miller was a metal worker at the Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Fairfield shipyard, where she helped build Liberty ships.

After the war, she went to work in the accounting department of the piston ring division of the Koppers Co. She retired in 1976.

A 50-year resident of Sunset Road in Southwest Baltimore, Mrs. Miller enjoyed flower and vegetable gardening, reading and writing. She wrote numerous lyrics for music and poems. She was in her mid-80s when she completed a privately published memoir for her family.

"One of the highlights of her life was having her story, "Don't Feel Sorry for Me 'Cause I'm Old," published on the op-ed page of The Sun in 1994," said a daughter, Patricia F. Phillips of Timonium.

In her story, Mrs. Miller addressed the many fears that accompany diminished physical and mental agility and the onset of disease and dependence. She also dealt with the loss of dignity and the nearness of death.

"However, we're also more experienced, more holistic in our thinking, more impatient with irrelevance," she wrote. "Some of us are so afraid of not being able to carry on, afraid of disability, that we go to retirement communities, isolated among our age-mates."

Her personal plan for happiness was focused on continuing daily activities and living independently.

"I think that older people who direct themselves in purposeful work are happiest. My way of keeping busy is keeping in touch with others, supporting each other with correspondence and helpful deeds where possible, reading, writing, crocheting, a little gardening and taking care of my flowers," she wrote.

She was married in 1948 to Christian A. Miller, a Pepsi-Cola salesman, who died in 1974.

A memorial service will be held at 7:30 p.m. today at the Hubbard Funeral Home, 4107 Wilkens Ave.

Mrs. Miller is survived by another daughter, Barbara A. Smith of Baltimore; nine grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.

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