Former Mundelein High trustee was passionate about education
A former member of two Mundelein-area school boards is being remembered for her dedication to public service and her passion for education.
Miller, 76, died May 18 after a long illness. She was a longtime Mundelein resident but had moved to Green Oaks and died at home.
A public memorial is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Kristan Funeral Home, 219 W. Maple Ave., Mundelein.
Miller served on the Diamond Lake District 76 board from 1973 to 1984 and then on the Mundelein High board from 1984 to 1992. She was president of the Mundelein High board from 1984 to 1988.
During Mundelein High's commencement exercises, Miller would hand each new graduate a $1 bill, saying it was the first money the teens would earn as high school graduates.
Students affectionately turned the tradition around in subsequent years.
"Students gave something to Dawn as she shook their hands at graduation," recalled Mundelein High spokesman Ron Girard, who joined the district in 1986. "One year it was pennies. Another it was jelly beans."
Miller was proud of Mundelein High's accomplishments during her board tenure, Girard said, particularly an award-winning aviation program that saw students build working airplanes. The program, the only one of its kind in the U.S., ran from 1980 to 2003.
"She was a great asset to our school and to the Mundelein community," Girard said.
In addition to her local service, Miller served as vice president of the Illinois Association of School Boards from 1990 to 1992. She held other positions with the association for the next 21 years and served on national education-related task forces and commissions, too.
Aside from education-related activities, Miller supported Mundelein business and community programs, and she was active in the Lake County Republican Party.
"Dawn Miller was a pillar of Mundelein volunteerism who set an example for a generation that followed," Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz said.
Miller and her late husband, Marvin, also owned bakeries in Lake County, and she had worked for Rogers & Hollands Jewelers. She bred and showed Great Danes, too.
Miller's survivors include a sister, a brother, six children, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Instead of flowers, donations can be made to the Dawn E. Miller Spirit of Education Foundation, 14334 Spring Meadow Court, Green Oaks, Illinois, 60044.