WORKING AT THE Free Library of Philadelphia was the ideal job for Lillian Miller.
As a library assistant, she was not only able to indulge her own love of reading, but to encourage young people to read, including her grandchildren and neighborhood kids.
She was able to pass on her belief that reading is preparation for a life of pride and accomplishment.
Lillian Miller, who was left to raise five children when her husband died, a former IRS employee and active churchwoman, died of heart failure Sunday.
She was 80 and lived in West Philadelphia.
She was born in Philadelphia to Jessie and Elizabeth White. She attended West Philadelphia High School where she met her husband, William R. Miller III. She was 16 when they married on July 26, 1947.
"The essence of Lillian's life was expressed through the joy she shared with Bill and their children," her family said.
When Bill died in 1985, she soon realized that she had to get a job to support her five children. She took Civil Service tests and landed a job with the IRS. After several years, she took the job at the Free Library.
"She demanded that her grandchildren who lived with her come to the library after school, because she wasn't allowing them to have a key to her house," her family said.
"She served as the local drop off for the neighborhood children who had late library books. She would return the books herself to encourage them to continue to come to the library and read."
Lillian's concern for others, particularly children and young people, extended beyond the library. She would pay the neighborhood kids to do odd jobs around her house to help instill the work ethic.
"She was a mother and grandmother to many of the children, who are now adults, who lived in the neighborhood," her family said.
"She would always encourage them to do the right thing and work in the community."
Lillian also had a passion for education. She made sure the five grandchildren who lived with her graduated from high school.
"To keep her grandchildren off the street, she made them join activities at Calvin Presbyterian Church," her family said.
"To ensure their involvement, she also joined and brought the rest of her family."
Among her activities at the church was moderator of the Deacon Board.
She also led the Aid to Friends Committee that prepared food for the sick and shut-in. She was elected as a church elder.
She is survived by a son, William R. Miller IV; two daughters, Sharon Hill and Debra Miller; seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by a son, Anthony B. Miller, and a daughter, Janeen E. Harris.