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Erlinda Tina (Dela Serna) Miller, 64, of Stafford, Virginia, passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 21, 2023, at her home.
She was born on January 10, 1959, in Calape, Bohol, Visayas, Philippines. She grew up in a very rural setting on the beautiful small island of Cagbalete. Through family moves in the Philippines, she learned four languages and then taught herself English.
Erlinda, “Linda,” was a career homemaker for her loving husband, Paul, whom she met at Clark Air Base and married February 18, 1982, in the Catholic Church in the port town of Mauban in her parents’ home Province of Quezon. She gave up pursuing a career to raise their son, Christopher. Linda was very supportive during the family’s frequent moves across the United States and into foreign countries during the duration of her husband’s military career. Linda quickly became close and dear friends with those she met at the military commissaries. Erlinda and Paul were blessed with wonderful Pilgrimages to visit the Shrine of and pray with Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Fatima, and Our Lady of Lourdes.
Always making new friends quickly, Linda enjoyed sharing her cultural heritage through social and public events sponsored by the local Filipino-American Association. She proudly displayed festive traditional dresses and dances to entertain and accentuate the variety of food dishes favored in the Philippines and by many Americans. She was an early member of the Filipino American Association of Stafford, Virginia, and assisted with events, even portraying Mrs. Claus at their annual Christmas party. In her younger years, Erlinda enjoyed collecting and displaying figurines and Capodimonte. Linda was a skilled seamstress, tailoring her clothes to the style and fit that she preferred. As a young woman in the Philippines, Linda was also trained in manicure and make-up and received much satisfaction practicing both.
Everyone was welcomed to birthday parties during Christopher’s childhood and friends would invite friends to her annual Christmas parties for which she insisted on preparing so many various favorite dishes for 50 to 100 people. Music and dancing were always part of the venue and no one ever left hungry, even taking a sampler plate home afterward. Linda made close friends socializing at Bingo; her friends always looked forward to their time together and missed her greatly when she couldn’t make it. Everywhere they went, people were attracted to Erlinda’s joyful outlook and ability to engage people to make them smile or laugh. Each return visit to the Philippines was like a homecoming celebration.
She felt a great compassion for children with serious ailments, frequently making generous donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She could especially sympathize with them during all that she was going through for the past 15 months after receiving the diagnosis of extensive lung cancer and a large tumor on her aortic arch that could rupture any moment and cause her to bleed to death in seconds. With that, we both entrusted her to God’s Providence that her lifespan is not defined by any doctor but only by the Will of God and we lived that faithfully every day. So many family and friends have prayed for her continually that we were gifted all this time. We are grateful to God and them. Linda silently accepted every medical test and procedure gracefully and with great faith. Fully trusting in God gave her the strength to endure it all without complaint or exhibiting any sign of pain or discomfort. She wanted to stay with her husband Paul for more years but God saw her being so tired from the sickness that He invited Linda to rest in His loving arms. We had a great devotion to the Blessed Mother who gave us comfort and strength through praying the Rosary and asking Our Lady of Fatima to guide each treatment. It is only through everyone’s prayers and the Grace and Blessings of God, through Our Lady of Fatima, that referrals and appointments came just in time to resolve each condition without ever any serious complication. Even through all this, her first thought each month after receiving Social Security Annuity was to withdraw 10% and donate that first portion to our Church.
Survivors include her husband, Paul; children Marlon Talisic (Mabel) of Manila, Philippines, and Christopher Miller (Catherine Eaton) of Spotsylvania; grandchildren McKenzie, Lillianna, Christine, Christian, and Miguel; siblings Norma McNeil (Steve) of Minneapolis, Carlos Dela Serna (Rosing) of Davao, Philippines, Luzviminda (Jun) of Cavite, Philippines, and Estrella of Apare, Philippines; and nieces, nephews, and cousins in the Philippines.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Rufo and Ana (Tabat) Dela Serna; brother Enyoy Dela Serna; sister Luz Dela Serna; brother Florante Dela Serna; a younger brother; two newborns; and brother Oscar Dela Serna (Josephine).
The family will receive friends from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, January 29, 2023 at Covenant Funeral Service, Stafford, including the Rosary to be prayed at 4:30 p.m. led by Father DeMartino. A Catholic Funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, January 30 at St. William of York Catholic Church, followed by a reception in the Parish Center at noon.
An additional visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on a date to be determined at Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home, 305 6th Street, Traverse City, Michigan. Interment will follow in Mount Calvary Cemetery, Cedar, Michigan, at a later date to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Paul Miller for renovation and expansion of the Mission Chapel on Cagbalete Island, Philippines, as a memorial for Erlinda Tina (Dela Serna) Miller.
“…Well done good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of thy Master.” - Matthew 25:23