Marlene Miller joined the Amish at age 23, married and had ten children. She wrote about her life experience in Grace Called Me Home, later republished as Called to Be Amish: My Journey from Head Majorette to the Old Order. I just learned yesterday that Marlene passed away Saturday from cancer, at the age of 76.
Longer-time readers might recall an interview with Marlene here in 2012 on Grace Leads Me Home. Here’s an excerpt:
Amish America: What aspect of Amish life has been hardest to adapt to or adopt?
Marlene Miller: Number 1 was language, number 2 sewing, number 3 farming. It was 1971 before I ever tried harnessing and hitching up our road horse.
What was the hardest thing about writing Grace Leads Me Home?
Two aspects of my life were really hard. My childhood memories and my son’s accident, death and funeral had me constantly dripping tears on my paper.
What do you like about living in Holmes County?
We live in Tuscarawas County. But we call ourselves Holmes County Amish. Holmes County is next door. The scenery in these rolling hills are beautiful. The people are kind, laid back and very helpful when a need arises. Because the Amish drive buggies we can take the time to greet with a wave an smile.
What changes have you seen come to your community over 40-some years?
Because of the huge growth over 45 years, we’ve been divided 4 times. We only have 2 farmers in our district. They have more modern machinery. The homes shops also have more modern conveniences.
As a mother and grandmother what if any concerns do you have for the next generations?
My biggest fear for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren is that they may become slaves to our government. Our forefathers died so they and we also could have the freedom to worship Jesus Christ.
You write that certain things about being Amish have been harder to pick up than others, such as language. At this point are you treated much differently than others in your community?
I must admit our family was at times treated differently, but as the years have passed we’re treated very kindly.
What would you advise someone seeking the Amish?
Whether you’re Amish or not you need to repent, ask Jesus Christ our Savior to come and live within your heart. Read the Bible everyday and be obedient to His Word. Seek a real Bible-believing church. The Lord may want you to become an Amish Christian. NOT Just anyone can do this.
I visited Marlene at her Tuscarawas County home once, and found her to be just as I imagined from reading her book: warm, bubbly and hospitable. We sat for awhile visiting. I wish I had known she was in poor health during one of my recent-ish Holmes County visits. The last I saw of Marlene publicly, she had made an appearance at a local library to share her story.
Here is Marlene’s obituary and online remembrances. Since Marlene’s book was originally titled Grace Leads Me Home, that’s as good an excuse as any to re-post this song, sung by Amish girls in her community. Rest in peace Marlene.
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I met Marlene briefly at the Book Authors signing at Gospel Books in Nov, 2017. That is where I purchased her book. She was very nice, and like your article says….very bubbly. I still have her book….have read, too. Great book she wrote. So sad to hear of her passing. Prayers to her family!
Condolences... and fortitude to the community
I am glad to have found out about and read Marlene’s book. I wish I’d had the opportunity to meet her, and I am saddened to hear of her passing. My condolences to her family and to the community that welcomed this wonderful woman. Perhaps we shall meet some day “um Gottes willen,” or perhaps I’ll meet a child or grandchild of hers. Sending love.
Her funeral was held this morning. She had a unique story. If you wanted to, I bet you could meet one of her children. I think only three became members of the Amish church, but it sounds like at least one or more are still in the Holmes County area.
Prayers and special regards to Marlene's children
I hesitate to contact Marlene’s children directly, but if you or another intermediary were to obtain their permission, I would be glad for an opportunity to contact them – or they could contact me through you or by my e-mail or “regular” mail. I would not mind providing my address.
I don’t have contact with them but I will keep it in mind. I might just go say hello next time I’m in Holmes County. I’ll try to let know if I get in touch with anyone.
Thank you for your efforts to keep us posted!
It would be lovely indeed to make some new friends in Marlene’s community. I’m sure I am not alone in my gratitude for your endeavors.
Neat to hear that Linda. I was also sad to hear of her passing. I wish I had
had a chance to catch up with her a second time.
I wish I could have gotten her books she wrote.I love to read about Amish people,I would love to go visit some Amish family one day
It’s worth reading her book. There are not many books about someone joining the Amish.
Blessings to Marlene’s family and prayer as well. I read her book and felt as if I had gotten to know her personally. She was a wonderful writer and her personality and those of her family members and community came shining through! God Bless to all!
I am so incredibly sad to hear this! I read her book a year or so ago and was so inspired as we are looking to join the Amish as well. We were just down in Holmes County a couple of weeks ago and I joked to my husband that I was going to look her up and stop by
Amish marriage certificates
This is off-topic, and I did buy Marlene’s book.
I was watching a video where an ex-Amishman said that the Amish don’t get marriage licenses. Is this true?
Helen from the bluegrass.
Song Amish girls sang
I didn’t think the Amish used instrumental music. I didn’t think they even had instruments in their homes.
So sad to hear of Marlene’s death. I read her book called to be Amish earlier this year and I absolutely loved her. I wish I could have met her!