Josephine V. “Jo” Miller, a homemaker and longtime supporter of Our Daily Bread who was an active congregant of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, died June 6 of complications from dementia at the Hospice of the Chesapeake in Severna Park. The former Timonium resident was 89.
The former Josephine Nancy Vitrano was the daughter of Sicilian immigrants, and produce dealers Tony Vitrano and Frances Vitrano. She was born in Baltimore and spent her early years in Little Italy before moving with her family to Sussex Road in Towson.
In 1934, her father established the Tony Vitrano Produce Co., and at an early age, she proclaimed herself the Celery Princess after overhearing her father referred to as the Celery King, family members said. The Jessup business, which is now the Tony Vitrano Co., is still family-owned-and-operated.
After graduating in 1949 from Towson High School, she earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 1953 from what is now Notre Dame of Maryland University, where she excelled in field hockey and was later inducted into its sports hall of fame.
She was married in 1953 to Paul J. Miller, an engineer, and taught briefly in Baltimore County Public Schools before starting a family.
She and her husband lived in Campus Hills from 1955 to 1963. They moved to Aintree Road in Towson’s Hampton neighborhood, where they raised their four children, and remained there until settling at the Mercy Ridge Senior Living Community in Timonium in 2012.
The Millers were active communicants of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, where they were members of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and were devoted in service to the poor as “passionate longtime supporters of Our Daily Bread,” according to a biographical profile submitted by her family.
The Morning Sun
Mrs. Miller had been chairperson of Our Daily Bread and the Good Samaritan committees at Immaculate. In recognition of her work, she was the recipient of the Catholic Charities Distinguished Service Award in 1991.
She also had been president of the Mother’s Club, served on the advisory board at Maryvale Preparatory School and had been past vice president of the Calvert Hall Parents Club. She was a volunteer for many years at the Pickersgill Retirement Community in West Towson.
Mrs. Miller enjoyed attending her children’s and, later, grandchildren’s athletic events and presiding over large holiday and birthday family gatherings.
She was an accomplished baker and cook and was an avid tennis and bridge player.
Her husband, a retired Westinghouse Electric Corp. mechanical engineer and deputy division manager, died in 2021.
A Mass of Christian Burial was offered Monday at her church.
She is survived by three sons, Anthony Miller of Towson, Andrew Miller of Annapolis and Paul “Peck” Miller of Ocean City; a daughter, Mari Fran Gregory of Kent Island; two brothers, Justin Vitrano of Lutherville and Norman Vitrano of Stevensville; 17 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.