Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | Lena Miller

Cancer survivors group loses a beloved stalwart

Sistahs members Carrie Seay, Lena Miller and Jackie Brown stand and sing during the beginning of church services two years ago at the 20th Street Church of Christ, 820 20th St. S in St. Petersburg.

DIRK SHADD | Times (2006)

Sistahs members Carrie Seay, Lena Miller and Jackie Brown stand and sing during the beginning of church services two years ago at the 20th Street Church of Christ, 820 20th St. S in St. Petersburg.

ST. PETERSBURG — Lena Miller could always be counted on for a laugh, an outrageous statement and for being unfailingly honest about her deepest feelings.

"How about the crying spells? Have you gone through that?'' she once asked a gathering of Sistahs Surviving Breast Cancer.

That particular evening, she had good news to share with the group of mostly African-American women. Her CAT scan results were good. Later, she brought them to uproarious laughter as she broached the subject of cancer and its effects on life's intimate moments.

Lena Miller died under hospice care on April 26, joking and singing her favorite gospel music to the end. She was 61.

Last week, the group that supported her through her two-year battle with cancer made plans to attend her funeral at 20th Street Church of Christ. It would be their third funeral in three months. Fifty-one-year-old Harrietta Graveley died on March 11. Filomena "Mina'' Murphy, 47, died on Feb. 14.

Jackie Brown, founder of Sistahs Surviving Breast Cancer, will miss Lena.

"She was always upbeat,'' Brown said.

"She was strong in her faith, just a very outgoing, bubbly spirited person.''

Retired as an unemployment compensation tax auditor for the Florida Department of Revenue, Mrs. Miller and her husband, Larry, were raising two grandchildren, Khemradj, 10, and Jacquarion, 8.

Khemradj, her son's child, and Jacquarion, his girlfriend's daughter, were the center of her life.

"They really don't understand the full realm of death, but we're just reinforcing the love that she had for them and we are seeking counseling through hospice,'' her sister Barbara Whitchard said.

"As young as they are, they were like assistant caregivers. Jacquarion would pick out her dress to wear for chemotherapy and put out her underwear the night before and tell her, 'Grandma, this is what you're going to wear tomorrow.' ''

In October, Whitchard said, she and her sister traveled to New York for their first vacation alone.

"We went to see The Color Purple,'' Whitchard said.

"She was so adamant to go. We took pictures in front of the marquee.''

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at wmoore@sptimes.com or (727) 892-2293.

>>IN THE KNOW

For help, support

Sistahs Surviving Breast Cancer meets at 6 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at Mount Zion Progressive Baptist Church, 955 20th St. S, St. Petersburg. Call Jackie Brown at (727) 365-1678.

Cancer survivors group loses a beloved stalwart 05/03/08 [Last modified: Saturday, May 3, 2008 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of Virginia special agent

    Crime

    RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man's arrest about an hour after the agent's death.

    This image provided by the Virginia State Police shows law enforcement investigating the scene of a shooting early Saturday in Richmond, Va.   Special Agent Michael T. Walter, a Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man's arrest about an hour after the agent's death. Virginia State Police said in an emailed statement that Travis A. Ball of Richmond is being held without bond on charges that include malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. (Virginia State Police via AP)
  2. Mayor Rick Kriseman says St. Petersburg mayoral election is about going forward, not back

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally
  3. Forecast: Lots of sunshine, low humidity to start Memorial Day weekend

    Weather

    The start of your long Memorial Day weekend is all sunshine this Saturday, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Rick Kearbey.

    WTSP seven-day forecast on May 27, 2017.
  4. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  5. Global computer outage grounds British flights

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday as a global IT failure caused severe disruption for travelers on a busy holiday weekend.

    British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Airport in January. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)