Janet Jerraine Miller

 1916 - 2010

Janet Miller, music teacher and librarian, graduated from Walla Walla College, now University in 1940. An outstanding student while at WWC, she quickly established an excellent reputation as she subsequently taught at Mount Ellis Academy in Montana and then at Lynwood Academy in California.

Miller was invited in 1947 to return to teach at WWC where she earned the respect and admiration of both faculty and students for her personal qualities and for her thoroughness and knowledge in music history and piano. She would later observe that "we women carried overloads, giving large numbers of lessons as well as teaching our classes. It seemed as though we did all the work, while the men sat around and earned bigger salaries besides."

During this time Miller completed an M.Mus. degree at the University of Southern California (1951) and an M.A. in library science at the University of Denver. She was also inducted into membership in Pi Kappa Lambda, a music honor society.

She left the college in 1954 to accept a position at the Spokane Public Library. During the next 25 years she established and directed their Fine Arts Department and served as its rare book curator. She also established a weekly concert series at the library.

Additionally, during these years, Miller was a charter member of the board of the Spokane Allied Arts Association and was chair of the Washington State Film Circuit Libraries. During her years at the library, she also directed the Sons of Norway Choir, an SATB group, and the Grace Baptist Church Choir and taught as many as 17 lessons a week at Spokane Junior Academy.

When she retired from the library in 1979, Miller volunteered to serve in the mission field. She traveled to Philippine Union College, now Adventist University of the Philippines, where she was supposed to work for a couple of years as librarian for the graduate school and the seminary. Instead, she served for six years as Director of the Library at the SDA Theological Seminary, Far East, taught a class called Music in the Christian Church at the seminary, taught music history to the undergraduate music majors, and gave piano lessons. During her month-long furloughs she traveled to Europe on book-buying expeditions for the graduate library.

In subsequent years, Miller served as chairperson for the Centennial Committee for the Spokane Seventh-day Adventist Central Church (1988), and as librarian; was past-president of the Amethyst Club, a study club for women; and continued to give piano lessons until she was 80. She also served as a member of the Board of Trustees for Community Concerts, which presents a yearly Bach Festival and an annual Mozart in Manito Park concert series.


Sources: Walla Walla College Class of 1940 Member Update sheet (unknown date); Dan Shultz, A Great Tradition . . . Music at Walla Walla College, 1892-1992, 94, 107; Obituary, WWU alumni magazine Westwind, fall 2010, 18; Personal contacts over several years. The quote is from one of those visits.