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It is with sadness that we report the passing of our all-time favorite chicken, Big Mama. Not many chickens deserve an obituary, but she does.

Big Mama came into our lives in September 2013. A family friend told us about a chicken who had been spayed, raised alone in a Houston apartment, and then taken to a veterinarian to be euthanized after the family grew tired of it. That vet was a graduate of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, and instead of euthanizing her, had the owner relinquish rights so Big Mama could be adopted. An email was sent to the vet school, asking for help in rehousing a spayed chicken who had spent its life indoors. At that point, Big Mama didn’t know what it was like living outdoors or being around other chickens. In fact, our first glimpse of Big Mama was a grainy photo showing a skinny, indoor chicken looking at herself in a mirror. We were hooked instantly. Did we want to give Big Mama a second chance at life? Absolutely!

We drove to Houston and smuggled her into our hotel, where we were staying to watch a Houston Astros game with extended family. Big Mama joined us in College Station shortly thereafter, and soon discovered how beautiful life could be walking in the grass, being a member of a flock, and having 24-7 love.

Big Mama flourished in her new life, growing into the beautiful Rhode Island Red chicken we knew she could be. We will miss her very much. Thank you, Big Mama, for being such a special part of our lives.

She is survived by her flock: Bubbles, Runt, Ms. S, Funky, Lucky, and Blondie.


Elizabeth “Betty” Ann Miller

1923 – 2017

“If you stand very still in the turmoil of life and wait for the voice from within-you’ll be led down the quiet ways of wisdom and peace in a mad world of chaos and din.” — Patience StrongElizabeth “Betty” Ann Miller has died at home with her beloved daughters and esteemed caregivers. Her stock was Alsatian and Irish. She was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to William Patrick Murphy and Melanie Weygand in 1923 and grew up on a Depression-era farm 2 hours north, in Arlington. At 17-years of age, she hitchhiked to California and got a job as “Rosie the Riveter”, building the B-17 for the North American Aviation Company in Los Angeles. On December 1, 1943, she met Marine LCpl Marshall Middleton Miller, from Goldthwaite, Texas who was scheduled to ship out for the Pacific Theater the first of the year. With a burning, spontaneous love, at 20 and 22 years of age, they married on December 25th. No time for a honeymoon, Betty cried as he sailed out of port and did not see him again until he returned from the Battle of Saipan terribly wounded and partially paralyzed. Other women might have left him; this injured Marine, but she did not and so began long years of operations, profound pain, and physical rehabilitation. He never totally recovered from his wounds, but through it all, she remained by his side for 57 years: “I will never leave you my darling, come what may.”

In the 1950’s she moved to College Station with Marshall and their three children. Marshall worked for the Poultry Science Department at Texas A&M and Betty dedicated herself to raising her family and being a loyal friend to many in the A&M community. She could spell any word in the dictionary, loved ice water and fudge, and used to play golf in the heat of summer. She could sing beautifully, was a skilled seamstress and an excellent cook. Her red beans and cornbread were renowned in the neighborhood.

We are her three children and have always been in awe of her and now that she is gone, we weep. She was the morning after the storm, the soft voice, the enduring patience, the heart of laughter, and the eternal love. Her many friends knew that Betty could always be counted upon. At the end, she was as sharp as they come and deep in her eyes there burned a fierce and tender story.

You probably did not know her, yet we share her death with you. Why? Because all of us will lose or have lost a mother, and we are joined together in these moments as we recall the universality of the women who gave us life: our mothers.

In her name, we send hope beyond grief to all of you.

She was predeceased by her parents; siblings Margaret, Eva, Monica, Audrey, William; husband Marshall Miller; sister-in-law Mary Ann and niece Andrea.

Betty Miller is survived by daughters Melanie Fuller (David), Mary Kraus (Bob), and son Duke Miller (Teresa); grandchildren Elizabeth Ennis (Brad), David Fuller (Alison), Marshall Miller, Charley Zipp, Robert Zipp, Kate Henderson (Jeremy), Mercy Kraus (Ryan Simons); great grandchildren Emily and Ethan Ennis, Anna and Claire Fuller, Caleb, Lydia and Caroline Henderson; brother Thomas Murphy, sister Virginia Rasmussen, and brother-in-law Sam Smith and numerous nieces and nephews.

Special thanks to Hospice Brazos Valley for their loving kindness to our mother and family this last month.


Louise Carter

March 13, 1915 – April 28, 2016

Louise Carter was a profoundly stubborn woman. She insisted on living alone and did so successfully until she was almost 101 years old — no worries, she was not so bull headed about driving herself because she really like to walk. Once while traveling with her grandchildren in London they exited at the wrong tube station for their destination by 5 blocks and she insisted – at the age of 83 – on walking those extra blocks – despite her granddaughter’s protests which included “in these shoes? REALLY?”

Stubbornness was not the only secret to her longevity. Desert after each meal (breakfast included) was a necessity — chocolate and 2% milk definitely did her body good. She will be remembered as being a beast at playing 42; loving animals (but never in the house); and cooking (she could ring a chickens neck and have it prepared for dinner in such a way the KFC would be envious).

She was progressive in regards to equality for women in the work force, equal educational opportunities and made sure that her son as well as her grandchildren could become and accomplish anything with a good educational foundation and hard work. We appreciate her dedication to our futures.

She rolled with change – incorporating some things more than others (much to the chagrin of her family – hearing aides and email were not embraced). She liked to travel, especially with her sisters (who also lived into their 90s). Interestingly, her will to travel stopped around the age of 95, at that point she became suspicious that each trip was actually a ploy to move her to one of her grandchildren’s homes. Her family honored her wishes and she wasn’t moved to assisted living until she truly could no longer live alone and per her wishes she never moved in with family as doing so would have impinged on her sense of independence.

Her resume is as follows: She was born into the Manning family – one of three girls (Opal, herself and Gay) She graduated from Sam Houston State University. She met her husband – the fabulously funny Gaston Carter on the day that he decided to have his portrait taken – so lucky for him he was looking spiffy. Although I am sure that she married him because after weighting the pros and cons she felt that it was a rational decision – she was extremely practical to her core. She was a teacher in Midway in a one room school house and then in Madisonville while simultaneously helping Gaston run the ranch and raising her only child Jerry. She loved her family dearly and was very generous to everyone around her. She is preceded in death by absolutely everyone other than her devoted daughter in law Betty Carter ; her 3 grandchildren (Ron Carter, Dr. Kimberly Carter and Jill Spearman) and her 4 great-grandchildren (Colby, Ben, Aiden and Sloane).

Once she transitioned to assisted living she decided that enough was enough, that she had lived a healthy and meaningful life and was now done. She passed peacefully in her sleep (as she wanted) fully embracing the new adventures to come. She was a profoundly loveable woman and we will miss her but we certainly enjoyed our time with her – all 101 years 1 month and 15 days of it.

A graveside funeral service for Louise Carter is set for 2 pm, Sunday, May 1, 2016 at the Allphin Cemetery near Midway, TX in Madison County. There will be no visitation for the public. Walters Funeral Home in Centerville is in charge of all arrangements.