Constance Lea Larson Miller
Constance Lea Larson Miller
Constance Lea Larson Miller passed away on August 20, 2019 surrounded by those who loved her dearly in Kansas City, Missouri. Connie was the oldest child of Harold and Helen (Johnson) Larson, born on April 10, 1941 in Ottumwa, Iowa.
Connie developed a love for baseball and poetry at an early age, playing sandlot baseball with neighborhood friends and quoting her favorite poems. In high school she was a cheerleader, reported for the school and local newspapers, served as Class Secretary, and was active in the speech club. She graduated from Ottumwa High School in 1959. She attended the University of Iowa where she joined the Pi Beta Phi sorority. She earned her Associate Degree in Fine Arts from Indian Hills Community College.
The arts were always an important part of her life. Connie expressed herself beautifully through her love of poetry, story-telling, quilting, painting, and collage. She shared her artistic passion with others by leading classes in schools, churches, and community centers and found a meaningful home for her work at Very Special Arts of Iowa. Her artwork has been displayed many times at local and regional exhibits; her poetry was published in many annual collections entitled “Lyrical Iowa” and she also self-published books of her poetry.
Connie devoted her talent and time to volunteering throughout her years. She served on the Board of the Wapello County Mental Health Center, advocating against the stigma of mental illness. She volunteered at the Crisis Center of Iowa as a “Rocking Granny” and helped children use art to work through their traumatic experiences. Her beautifully quilted whimsy balls were shared with children all across the country, with many more donated to Operation Breakthrough in Kansas City. She made hundreds of quilts throughout her lifetime that were distributed to people in need through the Lutheran Ministries.
In 2012, she became an active member of the Brookdale Senior Living Community in Overland Park, Kansas. She helped to start a group called Readers, Writers, and WannaBes, where friends could share their works and find inspiration. She also led the effort to host monthly shows at Brookdale that featured residents and their artwork.
Connie’s life centered around beloved family and friends. She was a devoted mother and adored being “Grandma NoNo” to Jack, Sydney, Kira, Maddie, and Merrill. When it came to her grandkids, Connie was the biggest fan on the sideline, the loudest cheer in the audience, and the first to encourage rambunctious creativity. Connie may be best known for her positive outlook, artistic expression, and thoughtful gestures to show her love. Her faith was also very important to her, and for many years, she was a faithful member of the First Lutheran Church in Ottumwa.
Those left to cherish her memory include: son and daughter-in-law, Matthew and Rachel Miller of Wichita, Kansas; daughter and son-in-law, Melissa Miller Patt and Stewart Patt of Leawood, Kansas; son, Chase Miller of Dallas, Texas; grandchildren: Jack and Sydney Miller, Kira, Madeline, and Merrill Patt; sister and her partner, Catherine L. Smith and Lynn Berlin of Shawnee, Kansas; nephew, Michael (Anne) Smith of Egan, Minnesota; niece, Lauren Smith of Denver, Colorado; grand-nephews Parker and Felix of Egan, Minnesota.
A celebration of her life will be held at Brookdale Senior Living, 6101 W. 119th Street, Overland Park, KS 66209 on Saturday, October 5 at 3:30pm. All are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Kansas City Hospice https://www.kchospice.org/donate/.