Obituary of Betty Miller Wise
Betty Miller Wise, 65, of Somerset, NJ, passed away on March 3, 2023, in RWJ Barnabas Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ, after suffering multiple strokes. Betty was born in Chicago, Illinois. In 1960, she moved with her family to New Jersey and was raised in the Tanglewood neighborhood of Rockaway Township.
She is a 1975 graduate of Morris Knolls High School. After high school, she earned an Associate Degree at the County College of Morris, and upon graduation, was immediately hired by Bell Laboratories in Piscataway as a computer programmer. While working, Betty earned both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Computer Science at Rutgers University. She retired in 2003 from Telcordia Technologies as a member of the technical staff and went to work as a contractor for Tyco Industries in Princeton, New Jersey for several years.
In 1978, Betty met her future husband, Thomas, on the job at Bell Laboratories. They were married in August 1980, and have one son, Gary.
Betty had a beautiful smile and made friends easily. She was intelligent and hardworking in all her endeavors. She was proud of her family, especially her son Gary, and her nieces and nephews. She was a caring and fun daughter, sister, mother, aunt, cousin, and friend. She was always thinking of others. She truly cared about people and had a way to express it with little details that made all the people in her life feel loved and appreciated, with a compliment or a small present for family and friends, letting us know she had been thinking of us. She was a true friend and a good listener. She made friends everywhere she went.
Betty had many interests, activities, and passions: She enjoyed playing flute in a community orchestra, traveling on vacations, ice skating, keeping pet rabbits, sewing, quilting, and making sock monkeys. Since she was a child, she always loved nature and animals. As an adult, she enjoyed hiking local trails with friends, mushroom foraging, birding, and photographing wildlife in action. She also enjoyed going to Native American pow-wows, including one in South Dakota.
She was so happy when in 2017, her picture of the oldest sassafras tree in New Jersey was awarded first place in the Plainsboro's Audubon's New Jersey Wild Art Show competition. Betty's love of nature also took the form of over a decade-long membership in and active participation in the New Jersey Mycological Association. Maitakes - or hen of the woods - were among her favorite mushrooms. Like many foragers, she had her favorite spots to which she would return every year in hopes that maitakes would be there. She participated in the annual fungi photography competition, winning first prize in the picture composition category in 2015. For several years she led the forays at Thomson Park, and during the latest Fungus Fests held at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown, New Jersey, she would share her enthusiasm for mushrooms with children visitors at the Children’s Corner activity table. Betty also wrote and published mushroom articles.
Genealogy research into the family's ancestry was another passion of Betty's. She made trips to cemeteries in Massachusetts and New Jersey, finding, cleaning, and photographing the grave sites of her ancestors.
Betty found a calling with Reiki, which is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing in yourself and others, and became a Reiki Master. Betty decided to use her Reiki skills as a volunteer in a hospice. As a person who had a lot of compassion for those in distress, she would visit hospice residents and comfort them with her Reiki skills. It requires a special type of person to be a hospice volunteer, and Betty certainly was.
Betty was an independent person and determined to succeed. She worked hard in everything she did. She was proud that she achieved the highest honor in Girl Scouts by getting the First Class Award. It is now called the Gold Award, and she was pleased that the Girl Scout Council bestowed her with a Gold Award pin in 2019 to commemorate it.
Betty was very health conscious. She could make the most delicious desserts that were gluten and dairy-free, and also tasty mushroom dishes to share with her New Jersey Mycological Association friends. She was a foodie and enjoyed trying new foods and restaurants, including Indian and Turkish foods.
She is survived by her husband, Thomas, of 42 years; son, Gary (Isi); siblings, Carolyn Miller Kearns, and Bonnie Jean Kennedy (Charles); sisters-in-law Kristi Miller, and Roberta Alpert; nieces and nephews Christine Kearns, Benjamin Miller (Lynn), Nicholas Miller, Annie Ross (Matthew), Deborah Tura (Charles), and Adam Alpert (Amy); and many more dear cousins, friends and former colleagues. She was predeceased by her father, Jason Miller, her mother, Helena Miller, her father-in-law, Samuel Wise, and mother-in-law, Sylvia Wise; brother, Dr. Bryan Jon Miller, and brothers-in-law Aaron Kearns, and Martin Alpert.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to a charity of your choice in Betty’s name.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Middlesex Funeral Home, 528 Bound Brook Road, Middlesex, NJ, on Saturday, April 22, 2023, from 11 AM to 1 PM.