planted in memory of Heidi Ann (Schemmel) Miller
Celebrating the life of Heidi Ann (Schemmel) Miller
Be the first to share your favorite memory, photo or story of
This memorial page is dedicated for family, friends and future generations to celebrate
the life of their loved one.
We ask on behalf of the family that you keep your comments uplifting and appropriate
to help all who come here to find comfort and healing.
Obituary for Heidi Ann (Schemmel) Miller
Heidi Ann (Schemmel) Miller passed away on August 13, 2022, at the much-too-young age of 70 years old. Heidi will be remembered by all that knew her - her love, grace, and kindness will not end with her death. Heidi’s loved ones will forever honor her legacy by living life to the fullest, working hard at everything they do, perfecting their golf games, using good manners & proper grammar (she was a stickler for this), helping others endlessly, supporting charities, playing games (especially cards… with intent to win), loving those around her, and having all kinds of fun along the way.
After graduating from high school in Madison, SD, Heidi put herself through college and earned a Bachelor of Nursing degree from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD. She briefly returned to Madison, SD to begin her nursing career, but Heidi was ready to take on the world and serve her country. joined the U.S.A.F. Nurse Corps in 1974. She was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, FL, where Heidi worked as a nurse and earned the rank of Captain.
Heidi married Eugene Denton “Beau” Bench III on December 26, 1975. They welcomed their first child, Eric Ryan Bench, and spent their early years of marriage & parenthood in Fort Walton Beach, FL. In 1977, Heidi completed her service with the U.S.A.F. and Heidi worked as a nurse in Fort Walton Beach. In 1979, the family moved to Jacksonville, FL. Soon after relocation, the family of three expanded with the birth of Alison Leigh Bench. Heidi joined the U.S. Army Reserve in 1980, where later earned the rank of Major (and served until 1990.) While being a wonderful wife & mother and working full time, Heidi remained committed to her future professional success and wanted to create the best possible life for herself and her family. She was a lifelong learner, and with dedication, she earned two advanced degrees from the University of North Florida, a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science, Allied Health.
In 1989, Heidi’s professional and educational efforts presented her with an amazing career opportunity with Avera McKennan Hospital, Sioux Falls, SD. Trading in the beach days, Disney birthday parties, and a backyard pool for the cold winters, Heidi’s family proudly supported her success and headed north. After the premature death of her husband, Beau, in 1991, Heidi bravely took on the challenge of being a single parent. With strength and determination, Heidi continued her unwavering dedication to her career and earned multiple promotions with Avera McKennan. Heidi worked tirelessly to provide for her two children and be the best mom and woman she could be... and she was amazing !
As the years passed and her children became adults, Heidi was ready to focus on her own happiness and future. In an unexpected turn, she agreed to a blind date with a colleague’s brother (a blind date!!), Douglas Eugene “Doug” Miller, and, as they say… the rest is history. Heidi & Doug instantly connected over their mutual life stories, including their Midwest upbringings, large families, pride in their children, accomplished careers in the medical field (Doug was a semi-retired pharmacist and business owner,) their love & commitment to golf, and summers at Lake Okoboji, where “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.” In 2003, Heidi & Doug were ready to escape the cold winters and made a home together in Tucson, AZ. The temperature was not the only thing hot in Arizona; Heidi’s career was on fire! She became Chief Clinical Officer of Kindred Hospital Tucson. She was soon promoted to Chief Executive Officer and ran multiple care facilities and quickly gained the respect of her team and the entire medical community. Heidi kicked off her workdays with a morning run through the McDonald’s drive-thru… always ordering just a cup of her favorite coffee, which her children say was a daily routine as far back as they can recall.
After enjoying three amazing years together, Doug was ready to call Heidi his wife and they were engaged in August of 2005. In a small and unannounced ceremony on February 24, 2006, Heidi delightfully became Mrs. Miller. The newlyweds remained in Tucson, where they enjoyed weekends at their condominium in Puerto Peñasco/Rocky Point, Mexico. During this time, the Millers became proud and loving grandparents and made trips to Denver, Omaha, and Okoboji, all while improving their golf games, making great friends, and planning their future together.
In 2011, Heidi took a position with Kindred in Phoenix, AZ, bringing the Millers closer to their retirement goals. They sold the condominium in Mexico and bought one on Lake Okoboji, IA, bringing them closer to lifelong friends and family. Heidi retired in 2014 and quickly adjusted to living a great life with Doug. Their shared intolerance for the cold (i.e., less than 75 degrees,) helped close out their Okoboji chapter, and they found their perfect home in Rio Verde, AZ. Positioned beautifully on the 8th hole with the most incredible outdoor entertainment space, Heidi & Doug were finally “home” and together enjoyed their well-earned sunsets. Heidi loved retirement and spent her final years playing mahjong, hosting &/or attending dinner parties, golfing as often as she could, traveling with Doug, visiting family & friends, and driving “Mabel” (her, not Doug’s golf cart) around their amazing community.
Heidi lived a life of service, first to her family and country, but later and until her final days supporting various non-profit organizations including the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, assorted cancer charities, and many others. In retirement, Heidi served as President of the Women’s Golf Association for Rio Verde Country Club, whose fundraising efforts were in support of the Soujerner Center, a center for abused women & children in the Phoenix area. Many of Heidi’s personal effects will be donated to the Phoenix Soujerner Center, in her name.
Heidi was a loving and caring wife, mother, stepmother, grandmother, sister, & friend and was so full of love & life. She enjoyed reading, entertaining, golfing, hiking, being with her grandchildren, traveling, and so much more. Heidi always “took the high road,” and pushed everyone she loved to do the same. Heidi was the strongest & kindest woman in the world and saying she will be missed is the greatest of understatements.
Heidi’s legacy will live on through her husband, Doug; her children, Eric (Paula) Bench and Alison Bench; her stepchildren, Kimberly (Heath) Kennedy and Ryan Miller; six grandchildren: Kate Kennedy, Denton Bench, Grace Kennedy, Samuel Wilson (Alison), Henry Miller and Caroline Miller; six siblings that she, as the eldest, helped raise and maintained strong relationships with until her passing: Jeff Schemmel, Holly Lanzner, Gerard “Jerry” (Diana) Schemmel, Jed (Lynn) Schemmel, Jason (Debbie) Schemmel, Joel (Toni) Schemmel; sister-in-law Lori Schemmel; numerous nieces & nephews; and many extended family members. She is preceded in death by her parents, Oran William “Bill” & Shirlee Mae Schemmel, twin sisters, Jill and Janie (who passed at birth,) and brother-in-law Robert “Bob” Lanzner.
In remembrance of Heidi’s life and in lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to the Augustana Nursing program. Please write any checks out to “Augustana Nursing Program” and include Heidi’s name on the memo line. Please mail to: Heidi Miller Memorial, ℅ Eric Bench, 2721 S. Joslin Ct, Denver, CO 80227. All memorial gifts, including those sent to other family members, will be passed on to Heidi’s alma mater in celebration of Heidi’s distinguished career.
The funeral will be held on October 1, 2022, at 10:00 am at St Mary's Catholic Church, Larchwood, IA. Immediately following, Heidi will be laid to rest and celebrated with a luncheon at the Community Center, both in Inwood, IA.