Elizabeth A. Mueller – Daughter of William L and Lillie Mueller (Daiss).
Born November 7, 1934 in LaGrange, IL, the youngest of eight Mueller children; pre-deceased by half-siblings Erica, Cordula, William, and siblings Lillie, Frieda, Caroline, and Carl. Beth attended St. John’s Lutheran School in LaGrange through 8th grade and was a 1951 graduate of Lyons Township HS, received a BSE from Valparaiso University in 1956 and in 1963 received an MLS from the University of Chicago.
She began her professional working life as a teacher of grade school students in Hicksville, NY and Mahwah NJ, returning to the Chicago area to work at J Walter Thompson Advertising as a researcher where she worked on the Ford Mustang project, among others. In 1963 she graduated from the University of Chicago beginning a career with the Chicago Suburban Library System in Cook County, rising to become Consulting Services Director. Headquartered in Burr Ridge Illinois, she worked with the 115 libraries in the Cook County system, helping many small municipalities through bond referenda, architect selection, grant applications and public approvals to build or expand their own libraries. She received the Illinois Librarian of the Year Award in 1993.
Beth retired in 1989, moving to North Carolina where she became Director of the Appalachian Regional Library System including Watauga, Ashe and Wilkes Counties. There she oversaw the expansion of the library system, adding a new Watauga County library in Boone and building a new library in in Wilkes in 1999.
Beth retired (again) from a formal role in 2000 remaining active in support of library, church and civic activities. She served as Program Officer of the High Country Branch of American Association of University Women North Carolina, and as Treasurer and Volunteer Coordinator of Watauga Literacy Association. She believed in the power of books and education and loved to drive, as her father had, and after retiring spent time delivering books to rural families with children through the Reading and Rolling program.
A member of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Boone since 1993, Beth was active in the Fellowship Ministry and the Finance Team as well as the Lizzie-Estelle Women’s Circle, and the Choir. She participated in an aid trip to Haiti.
Beth was a thorough professional, but also a warm and generous person. She was always interested in the people around her, as well as her extended family, attending family celebrations, often with her older sister Frieda, all across the US, keeping in touch with dozens of relatives. She was the family archivist, collecting old photographs and memorabilia. A lover of music, she traveled widely to Europe with friends, attending the Mozart Festival in Salzburg, Austria, and bringing her sister, Kiki (Caroline) to the Passion Play in Oberammergau. Following a Mueller tradition of Sunday coffee cakes, she opened her home to many, sociably or when they were in need. She was always a sympathetic ear for her many nephews and nieces, and their children. She owned several beloved dogs, including Emma and lastly Princess. She participated fully in the several communities in which she lived, as well as many national and international charitable organizations
Beth is survived by 13 of her 19 nieces and nephews, and dozens of grand-nieces and nephews. Beth made many very close friends over the years, keeping ties for 65 years or more, and she made new friends constantly; her several dear friends in Boone, NC keeping her company and caring for her until the end.
A memorial service for Beth will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 6, 2021 at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church located at 115 East King Street, Boone NC 28607
Memorial contributions may be made to Grace Lutheran Church, Watauga Literary Association, Watauga Humane Society and Valparaiso University (Indiana).