Obituary and Condolences

Michaelyn B. Miller
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Obituary for Michaelyn B. Miller

Michaelyn Miller passed away the morning of July 24th, 2017 while resting comfortably in the Hospice Care Unit at Mercy Hospital of Iowa City and surrounded by family. Known in the Eastern Iowa area as "The Cake Lady," Michaelyn owned and operated Cakes by Michaelyn for over 25 years. She spread joy and love to many throughout the community with her rainbow cakes and her generosity.

Michaelyn was born and raised in Muskegon, MI. She graduated from Reetfs-Puffer High School in 1969 and married her husband, Dale Miller shortly thereafter. Her love of family and Lake Michigan brought her back to the area year after year. As Kathy was growing up the family made trips to Michigan multiple times a year. Sometimes for finding peace as the sands of Lake Michigan melted through their toes, other times finding joy and laughter in over-eating all the fruit that they picked. It's been a long standing tradition that just after the "Iowa corn in July" comes the "Michigan blueberries in August." Kathy even made it home last fall for an over-indulgent blueberry picking excursion.

Michaelyn's cake business started in 1980 and was based in Solon, Iowa. In the beginning it was just a hobby; she made cakes for family and her daughter's classmates. Quickly her hobby grew into a second full time job. By 1986 Cakes By Michaelyn was a well known family business. Together Michaelyn, Dale, and Kathy made a variety of specialty character cakes which catered to the imagination of the customer. Her rainbow cakes were a joy and wonder to many with their swirl of colors inside.

In 1998 Michaelyn was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma but with vigorous and aggressive treatments she went into remission. As a result, she was able to maintain the family business for many years until the cancer came back in 2005. She beat the cancer, but her body was tired and she was forced into retirement. After retirement she still made cakes for friends and family only, sometimes traveling as far as North Carolina and Pennsylvania for family events. She'd find great pleasure in the smiles her cakes brought to others. In April of 2012 she had a stroke that left her paralyzed on the right side and was forced to give up decorating for good.

For the last 5 years Michaelyn has been in the care of her husband. Dale retired immediately after her stroke and has been her primary caregiver ever since. Her daughter had moved out to Seattle, WA and joined the Carpenter's Union but whenever she was unemployed she would visit Iowa for some family time and to help with her mother’s care.

Kathy arrived in Iowa City 2 hours after her mother was taken to Mercy Hospital Emergency Room. Michaelyn was admitted to ICU on Saturday, July 15th where she remained for 6 days while doctors tried to identify the cause of Michaelyn's ailment. She had an infection that left her physically and neurologically unresponsive. Even after treatment, the amazing medical team at Mercy Hospital was unable to bring Michaelyn out of her comatose state. The family respected Michaelyn's wishes and moved her to Mercy's Hospice Care unit. Michaelyn's final days were spent in a comfortable room, with an amazing view, listening to Dale and Kathy read the endless messages of love and support that the family had been receiving.

She will be deeply missed by her family and friends. Her husband of 48 years, Dale Miller (graduate of Grinnell High School) of Iowa City, IA, her daughter, Katherine Miller and daughter-in- law, Rachel English of Normandy Park, WA, her brother, Mack McKenzie (Sue) of Whitehall, MI, her sister, Brenda Cwiakala (David) of Goldsboro, NC, and many nieces and nephews will hold tightly to their precious and priceless memories. She is preceded in death by her father, Floyd McKenzie (Muskegon, MI), her father-in- law Dolph Miller (Grinnell, IA), her mother-in- law, Alberta Miller (Grinnell, IA), and her mother, Norma McKenzie Morton (Muskegon, MI).

Per her wishes, Michaelyn is to be cremated. She asked that no services be held, but that friends and family gather together when convenient and share happy memories... and perhaps some cake, too.

Kindness extended through financial support to address expenses related to her medical care and burial may be sent to Lensing Funeral Home (605 Kirkwood Avenue, Box 167, Iowa City, IA 52244) in care of Michaelyn Miller Memorial or through

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Michaelyn B. Miller, please visit our Tribute Store.


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