Elizabeth Miles

Obituary of Elizabeth Miles

Mrs. Elizabeth Bryant Miles (Lid), 102, a resident of Princeton NJ, died of natural causes on Friday August 14. She was a loving mother and wife, grandmother, drama teacher and enthusiastic community leader. She lived with her family in Orinda, CA, Old Greenwich, CT, Houston TX and Princeton NJ. Lid was born on May 7, 1913 in Kansas City, MO to Dr. Carl Herbert Bryant and Mary Tanner Shannon Bryant of Independence MO. Her father was Class of 1904 at Yale and, according to her, an author of the Whiffenpoof Song, which she sang and played on the piano her whole life, up to the day before her death. She grew up with her four younger brothers in Atascadero, CA and attended Mills College, where she majored in drama, performing many roles, often as the male lead, since she was tall relative to the other girls. Her memorable roles included Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, the lines of which she always remembered and recited often. After graduation from Mills she taught drama at Anna Head School (Now Head-Royce School) in Berkeley, CA and served as Miss San Louis Obispo County at the San Francisco Golden Gate International Exposition. In 1939 she met Thomas Kirk Miles (Kirk), a resident at her boarding house in Berkeley. He was a Civil Engineering graduate from Stanford University with a Master's Degree from MIT and worked for Shell Development in Emeryville, California. They were married at the Stanford Memorial Church on May 13, 1939. They settled in Orinda, CA where they lived until 1962, with the exception of a few years in Washington DC during WWII. Their first son, Thomas Kirk Miles, Jr. was born on October 5, 1941 in Oakland. He died in an automobile accident in 1964 during his senior year at Pacific University, Oregon. His dedication to theater and acting led Pacific University to name the Tom Miles Theater in his memory. Their second son, Richard Bryant Miles, was born July 10, 1943 in Washington DC. He is currently Robert Porter Patterson Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Emeritus at Princeton University. In 1962 Kirk was transferred to Shell's head office in New York City, and they moved to Old Greenwich CT, a short commute from the city, where, with the exception of five years in Houston TX, they lived until 1995. That year they moved to Princeton NJ next door to their son, Richard, and his family. Lid was always engaged in community affairs. She co-directed the comic review, Absurdia in Suburbia, and put on children's performances of the Nutcracker Suite, Sleeping Beauty and other favorites to the delight of the Orinda community. Their friends included many Shell families. They gathered around her Steinway piano on many occasions, singing old favorites late into the night. Most of these families were also transferred to the East Coast and remained close friends. In Old Greenwich she was active in the Garden Club of Old Greenwich, the First Congregational Church choir and the Mills Alumnae Association. Her "Parties to Picnics" cookbook presented one meal for each week of the year with recipes from Mills Alumnae and friends as a fund-raiser for the Mills College Club of New York. She and Kirk enjoyed tennis and sailing and their wonderful Lucas Point neighbors. They were members of the Riverside Yacht Club, and sailed their 35 foot sloop, Sea Otter, in Long Island Sound and "down East" to Block Island, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. In 1971 they sailed Sea Otter all the way to Houston Texas when Shell moved its New York offices there, sailing back again in 1975 after Kirk retired. They moved to Princeton after their home in Old Greenwich was flooded by a nor'easter. In Princeton, Lid participated in the Let's Talk group at the Senior Resource Center, making many new friends there. Every evening she played the piano after dinner and before climbing the stairs to bed. She had a piano piece for each of the beloved men in her life, always ending with Good Night Sweetheart for Kirk. She is survived by her son, Richard Miles, his wife, Dr. Susan McCoy Miles, of Princeton NJ and her grandchildren, Thomas Nelson Miles of Princeton NJ and Julia Elizabeth Miles of Fredericksburg, VA. Services will he held at the First Congregational Church in Old Greenwich Connecticut on Saturday, August 22 at 3PM. Donations may be made in her memory to the Tom Miles Endowment for the Performing Arts at Pacific University, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove, Oregon 97116, to Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, California, 94613, or to the Princeton Senior Resource Center, 45 Stockton Street, Princeton NJ 08540. Arrangements are the direction of Mather-Hodge Funeral Home Princeton.
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