Meet the Millies!
Mildred Kathryn Risler Wehr
January 1, 1923 - April 14, 2018
Born and raised in Hunterdon County, NJ, Millie Wehr was Katie's grandmother. Millie was an only child, and it was through helping her father tend to animals and crops on their small acreage in Barbertown that she began a lifelong love of gardening, canning, and scratch cooking.
A former WWII-era reporter for the Hunterdon Republican newspaper, Millie's office was just around the corner from our Flemington location. She spent several years there, chronicling both national headlines as well as local people, events, and even a sensational crime or two. In the decades that followed, she worked as a bookkeeper for a company operating three privately owned gas stations. After raising their three daughters, Millie and her husband Bill also owned and operated a small engine repair shop until 1991.
In her lifetime, Millie grew unbelievable gardens, volunteered on the rescue squad, was as a church organizer and Bible school teacher, a Girl Scout leader, and served as the secretary for Kingwood Township's Historical Society for nearly three decades. When she wasn't with friends, family, or one of her six grandchildren and two great grandchildren, Millie loved music, talk radio, bird watching, late night coffee ice cream, and was an avid reader, writer, and researcher, often completing family lineages for those in the area who sought her extensive knowledge of local history.
Mildred Jane Pyner VanLeuven
May 15, 1928 - October 14, 2019
Skylar’s grandmother, Millie Van Leuven, was born on May 15, 1928 in Roselle, NJ. She was the fourth and youngest child, and quickly became known as “Millie” by her family and friends. As a child she loved to sing, and was soon selected to be in the NJ All State Chorus. Even more than singing, however, Millie loved to whistle. She learned to whistle by listening to Fred Lowery, the professional “King of the Whistlers,” live on the radio. She would whistle while hiking, and the birds would hop from tree to tree, following her up the mountainside.
Millie left her secretarial position in New York to raise two children. During this time she raised extra funds for the family through her artwork. Millie was an excellent artist and consummate calligrapher, becoming a member of the elite “Society of Scribes.” She was also very involved in the Fresh Air Fund, which helped arrange for disadvantaged children from NY City to spend two weeks during the summer with families in her hometown of Westfield, NJ.
Millie remained very active throughout her life. She enjoyed swimming, hiking, and canoeing… playing tennis well into her seventies! But most of all, Millie was an enthusiastic antique collector, specializing in old windup toys, clocks, and dollhouses. She would rise early, always stopping at a small breakfast café or diner before heading off in search of a rare find or antique treasure.