Mourning the death of Josephine "Pat" Miller, renowned champion for children with disabilities, loving wife and mother, and devoted ...

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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.


  • 27 / Apr / 2022
  • 03 / May / 2022
  • 03 / May / 2022

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative


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