In memoriam: Florence Mina Miller-Weiler
When Mina Weiler died March 30 at age 60, the media emphasis fell almost entirely on the sad and violent factors in her death (allegedly at the hands of a mentally
But West Middle School science teacher Ranganath Weiner, who worked with her during the first 8 of his 16 years at the school, said the longtime Westside resident - who taught at West for a quarter-century in all - deserves better recognition.
He described her as “simply a very good person [who] worked tirelessly to serve kids every day…. Although she faced troubles of many kinds in her personal life, she always had a kind word and action towards others, especially students.”
Florence Mina Miller-Weiler was born Oct. 31, 1948. Services were April 3, followed by private inurnment. She is survived by a son and daughter.
She was a science teacher from 1976 to 2001 at West Middle School and then 2001 -2006 at North Middle School. After retirement, she continued to tutor students and substitute teach at North Middle School through this year.
In her years at West, she served as science chair and was the first coordinator of the SAIL program for gifted students at West. Weiner said she also sponsored “countless” student organizations, including Chess Club. Morse Code Club and the Environmental Club.
She received the 2007-2008 Service Learning Award for her Quilts for the Needy project.
At the time of her death she was the local chapter president of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, which promotes the professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education.
Barbara Fletcher, who taught with Weiler at North, said she was the “antithesis of the lazy, rigid teacher stereotype even at the end of her career. You know the stereotype: people who go into teaching for a paycheck and summer vacation. There isn't a teacher at any age who could beat her in effort and time expended, willingness to try new, out-of-the-box ideas, or willingness to collaborate and follow the directions of her superiors.”
Fletcher also shared some of Weiler's celebrity family background from a tribute she wrote after her death. “Mina had an amazing heritage and fully appreciated every aspect of it. Her great-grandfather, Lewis Miller, was a multi-patented inventor and the original founder of the Chautauqua movement (religious, philosophical, and cultural education) which eventually swept the United States in traveling tent shows between 1916 and 1924... Mina's great-aunt, Mina Miller, became Mina Edison, Thomas Edison's second wife… The original Miller house at the Chautauqua resort, which is still owned by Mina's family, was wired for electricity by Thomas Edison.”
Karol Szymanski, also of North, said she had known Weiler since the mid-'80s when her children had her for a teacher. Her daughter recalled her as a “fair teacher,” Szymanski said. “That didn't mean that she was a pushover; it only meant that she took her time and made sure [that] what she was teaching, the kids got! To sum up her life, Mina was a true person, she was a fair person, and she loved her God. What more can a person contribute during their life? More people should follow her example.”
Westside Pioneer article