Geraldine (Jeri) Miller Cantliffe went to be with her Creator on January 30, 2019.
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Jeri was born on November 25, 1927, to Viola Ireland Smith and Rufus Faye Miller, in Alliance, North Carolina. She grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. While attending Meredith College, Jeri met a young WWII pilot, Lawrence Cantliffe, Jr. and fell in love. The two were married on September 1, 1949.
From Raleigh, Jeri and Larry moved to New Jersey, where Jeri worked as a Lab Assistant at Hoffman-LaRoche Pharmaceuticals and Larry worked for Weyerhaeuser. Georgia-Pacific offered Larry the opportunity to open a warehouse in Connecticut and they chose Meriden for their new home. In 1956, Larry and a partner started Northeast Lumber Sales.
Jeri and Larry had five children: Eileen (Doug), David, Lynn (Mark), Lisa (Brad), and Jon (Wendy), and eight wonderful grandchildren. Some of the family’s favorite memories involved camping trips exploring the East Coast, ski trips, and the Rotary exchange students they hosted. After 65 years of marriage, Larry preceded Jeri in death.
Jeri began studying art after moving to Meriden. She went on to earn her Masters Degree in Art Teaching from Wesleyan University and then studied at the Paier School of Art. She was always happiest with a pen or paintbrush in her hands. She loved teaching art and taught at Wilcox in addition to her private students. Jeri’s art earned multiple Best of Show awards, and her art hangs in private collections around the world. Jeri also earned Women in Leadership Awards from the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce and the YMCA, before being named the Meriden-Record Journal Woman of the Year in Arts.
Jeri was also active in the community. She was named a Paul Harris Fellow for her service to the Meriden Rotary Club and served on the board of the National League of PEN Women. Jeri also served as Co-Chair of the Meriden Commission on the Arts.
Mother, Grandmother, Aunt, Teacher, Community leader, and Friend – Jeri will be missed by many. Jeri’s family is grateful to those who made her last years and days happier and more comfortable. In lieu of flowers, Jeri asked that you consider a donation to the Meriden Boys and Girls Club, 15 Lincoln St, Meriden CT 06451.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a funeral service on Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 159 East Main St., Meriden. Everyone is asked to meet directly at church. Burial will be in Walnut Grove Cemetery. Friends may call at the John J. Ferry & Sons Funeral Home, 88 East Main St., Meriden, CT 06450 on Friday, February 8th from 4 to 7 p.m.