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K00765 Summary:

MLTSPNSRCusick, Fall, Tannousis
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K00765 Text:

Senate Resolution No. 2389
BY: Senator LANZA
        MOURNING  the  death  of  Josephine  "Pat" Miller,
        renowned champion for  children  with  disabilities,
        loving  wife  and  mother, and devoted member of her
  WHEREAS, There are certain outstanding members of our community who,
through their selfless commitment and dedication, have served to  better
the  quality of life in our community and have had a measurable positive
impact on the lives of its residents;  Josephine  Miller  was  one  such
individual; and
  WHEREAS,  It  is  with  profound  sorrow  and  deep regret that this
Legislative Body records the passing of  Josephine  Miller,  noting  the
significance of her purposeful life and accomplishments; and
  WHEREAS,   Josephine   "Pat"  Miller,  a  relentless  supporter  and
powerhouse for the disabled, died on March 31, 2022, at Eger Health Care
and Rehabilitation Center in Staten Island, New York, where she had been
a resident; she was 93 years old; and
  WHEREAS, At times, she may have been the tiniest person in the room,
but her presence was always larger than life; through  the  years,  this
special  education  advocate  and  fierce  protector  of  the  rights of
individuals  with  disabilities  had  a  powerful  impact  on  countless
children and families within her community; and
  WHEREAS,  A  true  legend  on Staten Island, Josephine Miller helped
create the first school on Staten Island  for  developmentally  disabled
teenagers  in  1967,  and every day of her life thereafter she supported
families,  tirelessly  serving  to  ensure  people  with  special  needs
received the services they were entitled to receive; and
  WHEREAS, Josephine Miller was born on June 19, 1926 in Brooklyn, New
York, the eldest of the four children born to Michael "Sonny" Scudero, a
wholesale  fruit  and vegetable dealer, and Carmellina "Millie" DiFlorio
Scudero, a homemaker; her parents called her "Petsey," a  nickname  that
would stick throughout her life; and
  WHEREAS, Josephine grew up on a tree lined block on East 49th Street
in  the  Flatbush section of Brooklyn, where just five doors down on the
same block, lived the Miller family and as a young  girl  she  met  Fred
Miller in elementary school; and
  WHEREAS, After graduating from Midwood High School, Josephine Miller
held an assortment of clerical jobs in Downtown Brooklyn; in 1949, after
Fred  Miller returned from serving his country as a member of the United
States Navy, the couple married and moved into an apartment in  Downtown
Brooklyn, before welcoming their son, Gerald, in 1955; and
  WHEREAS,  The  couple went on to purchase a home on East 49th Street
and welcomed their second child, Diane  Lori,  who  was  diagnosed  with
Down's  Syndrome in 1957; during this time, the term "special needs" was
virtually non-existent; and
  WHEREAS,  Upon moving to Staten Island in the early 1960s, Josephine
Miller found to her dismay there were no special services available  for
Diane;  subsequently,  she  took  up  the  cause and together with other
parents she met  along  the  way,  she  educated  herself  by  attending
meetings  and  co-led  a  new  group of parents, teachers and friends of
children with disabilities;  she  was  pro-active  and  reached  out  to
elected  officials  and  educational  leaders  about  the needs of these
children; and
  WHEREAS, Her victories  were  hard  fought,  yet  she  continued  to
educate  herself; she was instrumental in the 1967 decision in which the
Board of Education gave disabled teens their  own  school;  during  this
time,  26  students  got  a  new  lease on life and parents were able to
achieve the opening of the first  school  for  developmentally  disabled
teens on Staten Island; and
  WHEREAS,  In  1978,  her efforts were rewarded when the Occupational
Training Center opened its doors in Clifton to 30 children;  today,  the
facility  is  named the Hungerford School, where Josephine Miller worked
for 16 years as a para-professional; and
  WHEREAS, In recognition of  her  work  in  the  trenches,  Josephine
Miller  was  named  to  an  advisory committee created by former schools
Chancellor Irving Anker; during her time at the OTC, she  began  working
for  the  Board  of Education in the school as a Library/Resource Center
aide; and
  WHEREAS, Furthermore, she worked with the Staten  Island  Federation
of  PTAs to build much needed educational support services and resources
for the disabled, providing advocacy and service on the Citizens Council
for the Community of the Disabled; and
  WHEREAS, This extraordinary woman also helped create District 75,  a
centralized  unit  charged with administering special education programs
for the severely disabled citywide, as well  as  the  Special  Olympics,
Staten Island's Special Education Training Resource Centers, and Parents
in  Partnership, an educational seminar for teachers, social workers and
parents; and
  WHEREAS, Most recently, in the wake of the rising rate of autism and
special needs on the Island,  Josephine  Miller  continued  to  work  to
create  more  classrooms,  to  ensure  Individual  Education  Plans  are
followed and to advocate for and represent parents and children; and
  WHEREAS, In recognition of  her  pioneering  spirit  and  unwavering
commitment  to children with disabilities, Josephine Miller was named an
Advance Woman of Achievement in 1994; additionally,  the  Staten  Island
Mental  Health Society presented her with the prestigious Dr. Richard M.
Silberstein Memorial Award; and
  WHEREAS, Josephine Miller's infinite  selflessness  and  benevolence
will shine on through her family's vivid and happy memories; her insight
and  strength  will forever serve as a beacon of love, light and hope to
the countless lives she touched; and
  WHEREAS, Armed with a humanistic spirit and imbued with a  sense  of
compassion,  Josephine  Miller  leaves  behind  a legacy which will long
endure the passage of time and will remain as a comforting memory to all
who were privileged to have known and loved such an amazing  woman;  she
will  be  deeply  missed  and  truly merits the grateful tribute of this
Legislative Body; now, therefore, be it
  RESOLVED,  That  this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
mourn the death of Josephine "Pat" Miller, and to  express  its  deepest
condolences to her family; and be it further
  RESOLVED,  That  a  copy  of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be
transmitted to the family of Josephine "Pat" Miller.
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