November 13, 2020

Althea Miller, a long time Lakeland resident, passed away peacefully, with her family by her side, on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Althea was the third child born to Albert and Jeanette Sofness in Boston, Massachusetts, on June 12, 1926.

In 1948, Althea traveled to Lakeland, Florida, to visit her sister, Celia Stone. She met her husband, Joe Miller, on a blind date and three weeks later they were married. Joe and Althea were married for 45 years until Joe’s untimely death in July 1993. Lakeland was their home, where they raised three children, Mark, Jeffrey and Karin on Glendale Street, where Althea live for 62 years until moving to Orlando to be close to her children and grandchildren.

Althea’s professional career was as the department manager for the designer dress department of Maas Brothers Department Store. She was the first woman president of the Temple Emanuel congregation and was active in its many committees and organizations. Althea was also a volunteer at Polk Museum of Art. Althea’s real career was as a mother, grandmother and friend. She would often say her lifelong goal and greatest achievement was being a mother and grandmother. Family was everything. She was a constant presence for good in the lives of her children and grandchildren and gave of herself unconditionally.

Althea’s sincerity, and genuine interest in the wellbeing of others, helped her cultivate a wide circle of friends and acquaintances in Lakeland and in Orlando. Althea touched many lives, in a positive way, during her 94 years of life, and many of those lives touched her back and made her life richer.

Althea had a deep and abiding faith in God and pride in her Jewish heritage, which gave her the strength and determination to overcome any obstacle between where she was and where she wanted to be.

Althea was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Joe, her sister Celia Stone, her brother-in-law, Joseph Stone, her brother Harold Sofness and her niece, Jenny Stone. She is survived by her children — Mark (Linda), Jeffrey (Ted), and Karin (Gary) Grossman; five grandchildren — Adam Miller, Seth Miller, Jonah Grossman, Alexandra Grossman and Caitlin Hankins; her three nephews — Martin Stone, David Stone, and Jerry Stone and their children, Ashley, Ami and Samantha; her former daughter-in-law, Nancy Miller; and her many friends. She was a blessing to us all and her family will miss her all the days of our lives.

Donations can be made in memory of Althea to the Holocaust Memorial Research & Education Center ( or Temple Emanuel of Lakeland, 600 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland FL 33803.

Arrangements entrusted to Beth Shalom Memorial Chapel, 640 Lee Road, Orlando FL 32810, 407-599-1180,


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