On January 30, 2019, closely after her one-hundred and first birthday, Catherine Alvestad-Miller passed away from complications of pneumonia, following hospitalization and treatment for a fractured hip.
Catherine was born on January 13, 1918, at home in Gig Harbor, WA to Norwegian immigrants Martha and Robert Alvestad. She was the middle child of three sisters, Agnes (Lloyd) Severtsen and Ruth (Earl) Irwin. She loved music and, as a young woman, accompanied hymns at the Lutheran Church in Crescent Valley, having never had a music lesson. Following graduation from Union High School in Gig Harbor, Catherine and her sister Ruth enrolled in beauty school and upon graduation, opened the “Gig Harbor Beauty Shop.” Then, one night in the spring of 1941 she and Ruth went to the Horseshoe Lake Dance Hall, where she met a handsome young man from Tomahawk, WI named William (Bill) Miller. They married only three months later on June 21, 1941, and began their family the following year, raising two daughters (Joyce Fischlin and Diane Griffith). They never lost their love for dancing, and after their daughters were raised, they danced at least weekly until a year before Bill’s death in 2001.
Catherine chose to be a stay-at-home mom, working only seasonally until their daughters were raised; however, when she and Bill became empty nesters, she worked at Morley’s Studio in Tacoma, Washington, until her retirement. A life-long Christian, Catherine was a member of Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church.
About 6 years ago at the age of 95, Catherine moved to Sound Vista Village in Gig Harbor, where she happily spent her final years. Not enough can be said about this wonderful facility, as Catherine called it “home,” and claimed that several of the staff were her “best friends.” And when she was recently discharged from the hospital and returned to Sound Vista Village for her final days, she was happy to be back home with her friends and her cat Sam. Our family is so grateful to the management and staff at Sound Vista Village for the compassionate and loving care they provided to her.
Catherine is survived by her daughters (Joyce and Diane, 2 grandchildren (Jana Brooks and Kelly Griffith) and 5 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by husband William Miller, her parents, husband, sisters, an entire graduating class and her entire generation of Alvestads.
A celebration of life will be held for Catherine at Sound Vista Village, 6633 McDonald Avenue, Gig Harbor, on March 9, at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Catherine’s charity, Macular Degeneration Research: 22512 Gateway Center Dr., Clarksburg, MD 20871.
Donations may be made to:
22512 Gateway Center Dr, Clarksburg MD 20871