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Gloria Miner

Gloria Miner passed away comfortably in the early morning January 2.

She was born November 2, 1924, in her family’s home in Cicero, Illinois, her older sister Florence looking on in some distress. Her parents, Nimrod and Batishwa Miner, had recently immigrated as Assyrian refugees from Ada, Urmia (now Iran) during WWI and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

When Gloria and Florence were in their early twenties, their father died. From that time they both devoted themselves to caring for their family; their beloved mother was blind, their younger brothers Ed and Bill were still in school, and their youngest brother Bob was just 5. They supported the household, raised Bob, and ultimately lived their entire lives together.

Gloria spent most of her career working for Motorola in advertising and became the first woman executive at Motorola. Her division was sold in the 1970s to a Japanese company, Quasar, and her new colleagues were quite baffled having a woman in their ranks. While there were some cultural adjustments to be made, there was never any doubt about her energy and ability; she was highly respected and successful despite the novelty of being a woman in her position in those times.

They moved to Mt. Prospect, Illinois, in the mid ’70s, where Batishwa passed away a couple of years later. In 1994, after retirement, they moved to Tiburon, California, to be closer to their brothers Ed and Bob.

Gloria’s true passion was classical music and playing cello, which she she did with great love, skill, and energy nearly her entire life.

In grade school, she volunteered to play cello in the school orchestra without being entirely sure what a cello was. She learned very quickly and was crossing town with the cello on the bus to play in different school orchestras before even entering high school. At J. Sterling Morton High School in Cicero, Illinois, she played with the orchestra all four years, and then worked in the music department after graduating.

She was a very good amateur cellist, playing with many string quartets and some orchestras around Chicago all her adult life. She was also a devoted patron of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and numerous string quartets and soloists. For many years she spent a week each summer at a chamber-music seminar in Interlochen, Michigan.

Gloria was an active philanthropist, and was particularly supportive of musical organizations. She spent her Tiburon years involved with the Marin Symphony as a volunteer.

Everything she did was done with great joy, love, and intelligence; she gave family and friends loving support, without judgment or imposition, and helped her family, friends, colleagues, and fellow musicians become better, in ways from the subtle to the profound.

We will miss her; we should take what she gave us all and make it as good as can be, and we should aspire to enliven our world as she did.

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