In the final year of World War II, Charlotte Miller was born in Quito, Ecuador, where her father was working to improve rubber production for the war effort. After a long, loving, laughter-filled and productive life, Charlotte died in July, at home in Denver, surrounded by her beloved family.
Like both parents before her, Charlotte attended Carleton College. After graduate work at New York University, she earned her doctorate in anthropology at the University of Florida, based on her research in Brazil.
She married Rob Werge in 1976 and moved with him to Peru. There she began a career of consulting on international development projects, especially focused on the advancement of women and indigenous peoples. The work was to take her to many countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe, but most often back to the Amazon Basin.
Charlotte and Rob settled in 1980 in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, moving to Fort Collins, CO in 1997, and to Denver in 2016.
Charlotte’s views and passions aligned with Quaker values, and she became a member of Adelphi Meeting in Maryland. She served on many committees there. Later in Ft. Collins she served on and clerked committees, and eventually became Clerk of the Meeting. In Denver, with flagging energies, she nonetheless served on influential committees, Nominating and Care and Counsel.
When not traveling, she worked tirelessly for social justice and peace, on both local and national levels, through Quaker organizations and the Democratic party. She worked on political campaigns, organized fundraisers, and helped in Rob’s election as mayor of University Park, MD. And she was a great cook and hostess and, with Rob, gave great parties.
Charlotte leaves behind a devoted family: husband Rob; three children: Ingrid, Tom, and Jose; and nine grandchildren. She was remembered at a highly emotional memorial meeting on 27 August under the care of Mountain View Friends Meeting, attended by a host of friends and members of the Ft. Collins and Denver Meetings. There were many tears and much laughter.
She was described as the quintessential generous spirit, the prime example of a Quaker elder. Both sides of her nature were explored: the stern, forthright speaker of truth, “uncompromising” in her belief that you could make change happen, from whom you learned something at every encounter; and the ever-kind maternal figure, always willing to spare time for family and friends, and to take in strangers. Several also made mention of her gracious acceptance of increasing physical limitations, and the peace she experienced and radiated at the end of life. One friend hoped for an afterlife; “if there is, Charlotte is there organizing some pretty spectacular activities.” Her eldest grandchild summarized: “She was the best-educated person I’ve ever known, and she was the kindest person I’ve ever known.”