Jan. 31, 1983-Aug. 16, 2011
Submitted by Terra Miller
Norina Miller, 28, died peacefully on Aug. 16, 2011, in her Menlo Park family home from brain cancer, diagnosed in 2006. Norina had been living in Oakland while earning a teaching credential and masters in education at Mills College. She grew up in Menlo Park where she attended Peninsula School and Menlo-Atherton High School. She graduated from San Francisco State University, majoring in dance, in 2010. Norina studied modern dance intensively from the age of five into adulthood under the guidance of Judith Komoroske, her first and most influential dance teacher.
Norina held a deep commitment to improving the lives of children. From an early age she expressed her commitment through action. She volunteered in children’s dance classes; a village school in rural Maharashtra, India; the Boys & Girls Club in East Menlo Park; the Meher Spiritual Center teens’ summer camp in South Carolina; and in bilingual elementary classrooms in San Francisco and Oakland. Norina worked for many years at Peninsula School in its summer and childcare programs, and in the third grade classroom.
Norina was deeply devoted to spiritual master Avatar Meher Baba. She made three pilgrimages to India and many trips to the Meher Spiritual Center in South Carolina. Meher Baba’s work and teachings served as the inspiration central to every aspect of Norina’s life. Her unwavering focus guided her, particularly through the five-and-a-half-year struggle with cancer, and served as an inspiration to others.
Throughout Norina’s 28 years, she touched the lives of those in her wide circle of family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances in myriad and profound ways. She will be remembered for her intelligence and humor, her beauty and grace, her integrity and compassion; as a gifted artist and dancer; and beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, teacher and friend.
Norina is survived by her parents, Jeff and Terra Miller of Menlo Park; her brother and sister-in-law, Lee and Ayla Miller of Redwood City; her brothers, Cole and Dale of Portland, Oregon; and by four grandparents.
Norina’s 30th birthday
Posted: 01 Feb 2013
Yesterday was January 31, a very sweet day for us remembering Norina together. It was beautiful outdoors and ‘the Brothers’ (Lee, Cole, Dale) and Ayla, Lev, Jeff ,and I had the whole day together and went to some of Norina’s favorite places — the redwoods and the beach. Being with the six of them — enjoying their company so — reminded me of how much Norina loved her family and friends.
Over the past 17 months, people have sometimes mentioned that they still visit this website to look at pictures. We’ll keep it here for that, and hope that if anyone comes across pictures they’d like to share, that it might continue to be used this way. It’s occurred to me that people might want to be able to listen to the wonderful recording of an interview of Norina by her dear friend Elizabeth for a StoryCorps project in 2011. Elizabeth asked Norina if she would be willing to be an interview subject for Elizabeth’s preparation to teach her high school students to conduct interviews for StoryCorps. The two of them had a delightful time talking together in the San Francisco recording booth one afternoon and the half hour recording created that day is very special — this link will take you to the mp3 for downloading.
It’s very sweet to hear Norina’s happy voice, her honesty, and the comfort and love between these friends. In their conversation there’s a focus on teaching, since it’s one of the things Norina and Elizabeth had in common. Norina also mentions many of the other parts of her life that were dearest to her, including — of course — her beloved brothers. In the half hour there apparently wasn’t a prompt in the flow of the conversation that lead her to talk about her Dad, though, and it feels like something of an omission when listening to the interview. When they did this project, I know Norina and Elizabeth hadn’t intended it to be in any way comprehensive of all that was important in her life or in their friendship. For me, it’s easy to remember that when listening to it, and easy to remember that Norina’s profound love and admiration for her father knew no bounds — she would have talked about Jeff for hours, given the chance.
Passing the milestone of this birthday, I continue to be so grateful to all of you who hold us in your hearts. At the same time that we miss Norina to an extent that I can’t even think of the words to express, it has been a comfort hearing from family and friends in the past few days. It has served as a reminder that others are still remembering Norina right along with us, and of the love she shared and lives she touched.
With much love and gratitude,