Long-time resident of Baker City, OR, Sandra “Sandy” Miller, passed peacefully into eternal life with Jesus on Oct 11, 2021, leaving behind a legacy of adventure, grit, lifelong pursuit of the outdoors, and ardent love for her family.
Sandra Marie Heath was born to parents, Hollis T. and Bethel E. Heath (both deceased), of Portland, OR, on Feb 24, 1940. Her father, Hollis, whom she loved dearly and would often recount as “a baseball great,” given his brief stint playing professionally, tragically succumbed to a heart attack when Sandy was only 12 years old. Bethel was left to care for their 3 children as a young widow who would not remarry. As a young girl, Sandy loved horseback riding and ice skating, a hobby she would continue to enjoy well into her adult years. She was highly involved in social activities and graduated from Grant High School (Portland, OR) in 1957, marrying high school sweetheart, Frederick Jack Neimann (deceased) shortly thereafter. Together they raised their 4 sons in NE Portland until a promotion prompted brief relocation to Baker City. It was here that a passionate love for the outdoors took root in Sandy before the family returned to Lake Oswego in 1973.
On July 1, 1976, Sandy and James “Jim” Miller married in Stevenson, WA. Together they owned and operated Cedar Mill Disposal in Cedar Mill, OR for 20 years before ultimately retiring to Baker City, where they purchased a home with a picturesque view of “her mountains.” For several years, Sandy managed Murray’s Hallmark store on Main St. Countless afternoons and evenings were spent enjoying the splendor of the couple’s dutifully tended garden and beautifully landscaped yard. She loved strawberries from her homegrown beds and crab from the Oregon coast. Sandy and Jim enjoyed fishing or picking wild huckleberries and “shaggy manes'' on day trips to Sumpter or Anthony Lakes. Jim reminisces fondly that Sandy always had to cast her pole with 2 hands - a sight that always gave him a hearty laugh. He also recalls jokingly that she never learned to use her mirrors to back up a car; “she had to just do it herself.” Occasional, spontaneous trips to Wildhorse Casino became a means of escaping the monotony of brutal Eastern Oregon winters spent largely indoors. In later years, as chronic health complications related to her Crohn's Disease became more wearing and limited travel, Jim demonstrated his vows of “in sickness and in health” on a daily basis, faithfully serving her basic needs and seeking to find small practical ways to bring joy to her spirit.
Throughout the years, Sandy anticipated and cherished the frequent visits of her sons and their families who continued to hold dear and relive the exploits of their childhood years in Baker, namely - fishing, deer and elk hunting, gold panning, bottle digging, bbqs and flea marketing at the family-owned cabin in Sumpter. She was youthful and active, snow skiing and bowling with her children and grandchildren well into her late 60s. Attending the Haines Rodeo, dining at the Haines Steakhouse and El Erradero, and catching the newest release at the Eltrym were also favorite traditions during their visits.
Sandy is remembered as a thoughtful listener and counselor; lengthy conversations on the phone or back porch with friends and family were frequent. Her “pull up your bootstraps” mentality was consistent, firmly advocating for accountability and recognition that one “always has a choice.” She was a pensive thinker and an articulate writer. She never missed a birthday or the opportunity to send a hand-written note, just to say, “hello.” She was kind and welcoming, and in her eyes one always found a smile. She valued time spent with others and gave attention to knowing her children and grandchildren deeply, possessing unique and meaningful relationships with each and every one. In recent months, as she reflected on life, despite chronic medical complications and the tragic loss of a son, Sandy voiced a fullness and satisfaction with life. Her pride in her sons was tremendous, and she routinely expressed awe at the success and depth of character found in her children and grandchildren. Expressed shortly before her passing, her final spoken thoughts reflected what she held most dear: “I love my family, and I know my family loves me.” Acts 16:31 “They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
In addition to Jim, her devoted husband of 45 years, Sandy is survived by her brother, Michael Heath; her sister, Linda Jewett (Tom); and her sons, Scott Neimann (Terri), Chris Neimann (Denise), & Troy Neimann (Christina). She is preceded in death by her son, Rick Neimann (Cynthia). Surviving grandchildren include: Mandy Martin (Tim), Rochelle Oxford (Jeremy), Cami Neimann, Brett Neimann (Melissa), Stephen Neimann, Robyn Brenner (Benjamin), Kallie Brodt (Travis), Jamie Stofiel (Tyler), Elijah Neimann, and Brooklyn Neimann. Great grandchildren include: Kaleb Martin, Allie Anderson, Micah Martin, Owen Martin, Judah Brenner, Blaire Brodt, and Evan Neimann
For those who would like to make a memorial donation in honor of Sandy the family suggests either Billie Ruth Bootsma Foundation or the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation through Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home and Cremation Services, PO Box 543, Halfway, Oregon 97834. Online condolences can be shared at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com