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Willie Mae Miller

Willie Mae Miller, 95, passed away on February 29, 2024. Her daughter Melissa was by her side when she drew her last peaceful breath at her Saratoga Springs, New York home.

Willie Mae was born on April 25, 1928, in Cave City, Kentucky, not far from Mammoth Cave National Park. She was the sixth of ten children of Willie and Ethel Hogan. She recalled many happy times from her childhood, playing ball in the yard with her siblings, and their beloved dog, Ring, joining in hopscotch and marbles during class recess under the watchful eye of her favorite teacher, Miss Madeline. She fondly remembered her mother’s hot, fresh biscuits with molasses and the thrill of a stocking full of fruit and small candies (enough to last a whole day!) on Christmas morning. Willie Mae dutifully wrote letters to her four older brothers who were stationed overseas during World War II, and collected dozens of postcards they sent her from various places around the world. During her teens, she waitressed at “The Wigwams” in Cave City and later worked in a local clothing factory.

A vast new world opened up for Willie Mae when at the urging of her youngest brother, Rondal Hogan, and his wife Zona, she joined them in a move to Alaska. She attended the University of Alaska and worked in a bank in Fairbanks, reveling in the freedom and novelty of a completely new way of life. In 1962, she met Glenn D. Miller, and six weeks later they were wed on June 26. Their only child, Melissa, was born in 1966, and the family moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1969. Willie Mae often said that her adult life finally began when she moved to Alaska. After the loss of her husband in 1978, she continued to raise her daughter and work as a secretary in Anchorage.

In the early 1990s, Willie Mae made another bold move and settled in Saratoga Springs, New York. She came to Saratoga to be near her daughter and her family, but she also found a beloved new family of cherished friends. Always a joiner and an organizer, Willie Mae soon became a member of a weekly walking group which led to day trips, camping trips, parties, outings, card games, skiing, hiking, and picnicking…many wonderful years of fun and companionship.

The greatest joy of Willie Mae’s life was her daughter and grandchildren. She is survived by her daughter, Melissa Paquet (Joseph Ponessa Jr); granddaughter, Miranda Paquet (Adam Kelly); grandson, Bradley Paquet (Caitlyn Roy); and granddaughter, Teressa Paquet. Other survivors include brothers, Arthur Hogan and Rondal Hogan (Zona); and numerous, much-loved nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, Willie Mae is preceded in death by her husband, Glenn D. Miller; son-in-law, Peter Paquet; three sisters, Joan Toohey, Joy Taylor, and Doris Blankenship; and four brothers, Jesse Hogan, James Hogan, Turner Hogan, and Genie Hogan.

The family wishes to express their heartfelt thanks to Willie Mae’s wonderful caregivers, Margaret Bishop and Karen Donworth. The loving care and patience of these two very special women brought her much comfort during the past year.

Relatives and friends may call from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, at William J. Burke & Sons/ Bussing & Cunniff Funeral homes, 628 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY, ending with a brief scripture reading and prayer at 6:00 pm.

Family and friends will gather at Bob Hunt Funeral Chapel, Cave City, Kentucky at 11:00 am on Saturday, March 9, 2024, followed by a graveside service at Cave City Cemetery.

Anyone wishing to donate may contribute in honor of Willie Mae to Saratoga Community Hospice, 179 Lawrence St., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

Bob Hunt Funeral Chapel is honored to be entrusted with the care of Mrs. Miller and her family at this time.

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