Obituary of Margaret Miller
The Reverend Margaret (Peg) Miller, had a peaceful, sudden, and unexpected passing on Friday, April 20th at the age of 76 at her home in Niskayuna, NY. She was born on November 20th 1941 in Teaneck, NJ, as the third child of Gordon Chute and Marion Beamon, who met as missionaries in India.
Peg spent her childhood in Leonia, N.J., and Hillsdale, N.Y. After she graduated from Carleton College, she enrolled in Union Theological Seminary in NYC on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. During her preparation for ministry at Union, she worked in the East Harlem Protestant Parish which was an innovative interracial ministry. At Union Seminary she met Robert E. Bunnell, and married in 1965. She brought two sons into the world during Bob’s service as a pastor at Presbyterian churches in North Argyle and Charlton, N.Y.
In 1976 Peg was one of the first women ordained by the Albany Presbytery. She served as Associate Pastor at Union Presbyterian Church from 1974-1996. During these years a generation of young people and their families were profoundly impacted by her inspired youth group leadership. She continued to serve the Albany Presbytery in many leadership roles including a brief pastorate at Malta Presbyterian Church.
Peg’s love of the natural world found expression in the years she spent as a steward and owner of a family property adjacent to High Point State Park, NJ. She enjoyed this re-wilded farmland with family and friends for many years, until its recent donation to The Land Conservancy.
After her separation in 1983 she purchased a home overlooking Ballston Lake. This property was a source of joy and independence, allowing her to garden and swim daily.
Following her marriage to the Reverend James H. Miller in 1994 and her subsequent retirement, she continued to enjoy hiking, wildflower walks, canoeing, bird-watching, and extensive travel around the world. During her retirement Peg served for many years on the board of Schenectady Home Furnishings Program and played an instrumental role in maintaining it as a vital ministry to this community.
Peg was an accomplished pianist and accompanist, frequently employing these talents in her youth ministry. She found many ways to express her artistic interests, especially painting, needlework and pysanky. She and her husband Jim enjoyed decorating their home with special pieces of art discovered during their travels.
She is survived by husband Jim, sons Stephen and John Bunnell, step-sons Jeff and Blaine Miller, grandchildren Jacob and Tyler Bunnell, her sister Marion Malcom (Stefan Ostrach), and numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her brother David.
Services will be held at 11am on Thursday April 26 at the First Reformed Church of Schenectady on 8 North Church Street. The family will be available to greet those attending from 9:30-11am.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Home Furnishings Program, Earth Justice or FARA (Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance).