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Mildred Janet Forrey of Silver Spring passed on to eternal life unexpectedly but peacefully, surrounded by family early in the morning of All Saints’ Day, November 1, 2023. She is survived by her devoted daughter, Barbara and son-in-law Jeff Wahlbrink, and three beloved granddaughters: Grace Wahlbrink and husband Zack Hill; Hope Wahlbrink and husband Andrew Arnold; and Nora Wahlbrink. She is also survived by two nieces and a nephew and their families, who were all very special to her.
Millie was born at her family home, the fourth of five sisters, just outside Columbia, Pennsylvania and she always considered Lancaster County her home. She was educated in a 2-room schoolhouse from grade 1-8 and graduated from high school in 1945. After a stint in the office of the local shoe factory where she counted coins and bills to pay the workers’ wages in cash every Friday, she began a long career in administration with the federal government. She was the only one of her sisters to move away from home, bravely relocating to Maryland in 1956 to work at Fort Meade Army Hospital, and later to join the new “secret agency” NSA where she remained until her retirement in 1985. After that, she held several part-time positions including volunteering in the St. Andrew office until the week before she passed!
To Millie, friends and family were everything, and it showed. As a single mother, she sacrificed to give her daughter many things that she had always wanted but never had including braces, contact lenses, and a college education. She courageously fought three serious bouts with cancer and survived. She loved to be fashionable and remained fit, working out at Curves into her 90s. As her hearing and balance failed, she continued to push forward, keeping up with her friends, appearances, and technology despite the physical frustrations that made life more difficult.
Though Millie often complained that she had no hobbies, those who knew her quickly found that her special gift was making and keeping friends. She was known far and wide for her beautiful smile and friendly disposition. Into her 90s, she stayed in touch with friends of all ages and stages and kept making new friends along the way! Some of her closest friends were her daughter and granddaughters, with whom she talked and texted daily. Those feisty and funny calls and messages are greatly missed! Keeping up with friends got easier once social media emerged, and Millie blew through two iPads and an iPhone keeping up with the latest on Facebook! And although she was never much interested in cooking, her peanut butter fudge was always a favorite at parties and celebrations.
Above all, Millie was a woman of faith, attending worship weekly no matter where she lived, and passing on that faith to her family. She was active in Bible study up to the time of her death, and even when she couldn’t hear the lesson, she loved the fellowship! She never lost her wonder for God’s creation, always searching for rainbows, full moons, and thrilled with the blooms of her summer geranium and carnations, her favorite flower. Although her family is heartbroken at her passing, we rejoice that she is now at peace with perfect hearing, balance and beauty restored…and that will make her very happy! Have fun on the new adventure, mama – thanks for blessing us with your amazing life and love. We love and miss you so much but are comforted knowing that we’ll see you again someday!
A worship service and celebration of life will be held on Wednesday, November 15 at 11:00 am at The Lutheran Church of St. Andrew, 15300 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20905. Interment will be in the church columbarium, with a time of fellowship to follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Millie to The Lutheran Church of St Andrew at https://www.mystandrew.org/give/
** All pictures viewable on the Tribute Wall
The Lutheran Church of St Andrew
15300 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring MD 20905