A farm nestled in the hills of Perry County has raised cattle, kids and self esteem and grew corn faith, tenacity and lots of love. It was built by Billy and Sue Miller shortly after they were married in 1946.
“I feel like I’m just fortunate, been blessed.”
Sue says Billy did most of the farming, but not all.
“If they really needed somebody to drive a tractor for a while, ‘think you’d have time to come out and disc awhile for us?’ ‘Yeah I can do that,’ I helped some.”
Not long before the marriage, Sue, the high school valedictorian was offered a business scholarship at a Missouri College, an unusual feat for a woman in the 1940s.
“I would have liked to have gone farther up.”
She wanted to go-
“I just didn’t’ have have any way to get to Missouri.”
But she says her family just couldn’t make it happen.
Turns out though, she didn’t need a business degree to build a successful business.
Sue and her husband Billy caught the square dance bug back in the 1950s. But she couldn’t find the right shoes, so she ordered some. Those shoes caught the eye of other square dancers.
“Then they want this and they wanted that.”
So Sue began selling square dance items out of her farm home.
“We just kept giving what they wanted.”
For 20 years, B & S Square Dancing was as hot as a do-si-do on a summer night.
“It was a big business,” said Sue. “When Billy was around, if it was raining, he’d help me too.”
But in 1983, Billy died unexpectedly from a heart attack. Sue was left to run the farm, the business and her family.
“It just had to be done. So I just did it, you know? If I hadn’t had anything to do, it would have been a lot harder.”
In time, Sue sold her business and her son Bruce took over the farm. Sue has 4 children, 9 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren. I asked some of them what sue has taught them.
“How to have a servant’s heart.”
“Put others first. Do whatever you can to help anybody.”
“She’s taught me to sit and listen, and think about what it feels like to be that person and help them and not judge.”
For more than 60 years, Sue has volunteered with 4-H. She also volunteered at the local nursing home, church and schools. She’s done mission work in Mexico and Honduras.
“I’ve heard her say many times, if I have to wear rags you’re going to college.”
Sue has inspired 3, soon to be 4, other valedictorians in the family.
“Never stop learning. Never stop doing.
At 93, you might think she’d slow down a little, but no. Sue’s up every morning riding her exercise bike on hour. For her 90th birthday, she became the oldest woman in Southern Indiana to zipline.
“When I first stepped off of there, I felt like ‘Wow!’ but then I thought ‘those trees are awful close.'”
At 91, she completed her first 5K.
“Lucky, that’s all I can say. I had a good life.”
And she still finds time to spread more joy and happiness nearly everyday through baking cookies for just about everyone.