Juanita Nolan Miller

Juanita Nolan Miller

April 24, 1945 - February 5, 2024

Ms. Juanita Nolan Miller, 78, daughter of the late Chester Swafford and Hattie Mae Bonham Swafford was born April 24, 1945 in Manchester, Kentucky. Her father was killed in a “shootout” prior to her birth and she was then raised by her mother and stepfather, Crit Swafford. She spent her younger years playing in the mountains that enveloped Otter Creek hollow (pronounced our whole life as Order Creek) while taking care of her younger siblings and working the soil to produce food for their meals. At the age of 14 she withdrew from school to pursue full-time work. Her life was a rollercoaster, filled with so many wonderful adventures and a lot of loss. Her first husband, Arnold Wagers, gifted her with a set of twin boys, Dennis and Kenneth Wagers, of Corbin, and two stepchildren, Ruth Rose and David Wagers, both of Corbin. Arnold was tragically killed in the Hurricane Creek Mine Disaster on December 30, 1970, leaving her a young widow with four children. She recalled that shortly after his death, the government provided the widows with a one-time welfare check to help make ends meet, the only one she ever took. We would laugh often as she recounted taking that check to the local jewelry store where she signed it over in exchange for a Kentucky waterfall cluster diamond ring, that she wore every day of her remaining years. She remarried shortly thereafter to Wellington “Fargo” Nolan, who had three children from a previous marriage. Eddie, Melvin and Cathy Nolan joined her family and she had two other children with Fargo, Kim Jones of Corbin, and Ronnie Nolan of Frankfort, KY. Fargo suddenly passed away in January of 1980 when their youngest child was only 6 years old.

Juanita was never one to sulk for too long and within months moved the family from Manchester to Woodbine, just outside Corbin. Those days were stressful but in the eyes of a small child, they were often magical. It was a time when she put the kids outside during the days and told them not to come home until it was dark. We rode bikes, climbed mountains, played in the dirt, camped outside, rode in the back of a pickup truck all the way to Daytona Beach on more than one occasion, got in more trouble than most and found our first taste of freedom. Juanita, while not a doting mother, always found a way to provide for her children and to create wonderful memories. A few years after moving to Woodbine, Juanita married her next-door neighbor, Jerome (Jerry) Miller who had four children from his previous marriage; Jim Miller of Williamsburg, KY, and Jeff Miller, Andy Miller, and Jennifer Wikette, all of the greater Cincinnati area. A few years later Jerry would pass suddenly in the living room of their shared home. Widowed three times by the time she was in her early 40’s, Juanita took a public vow to never marry again.

Juanita was never one to sit back and wait for things to happen. She was a go-getter. After dropping out of school at 14, later, as an adult, she went back to school to earn her high school diploma. She worked in a variety of fields including home health, nursing homes, and even tried her hand at professional commercial painting. She was an active member of the Corbin Parkway Church of God, where she has attended the last 35-40 years. She also loved visiting other congregations, especially if they were having a meal! Her later years included a house filled with the laughter of great grandchildren, gifted to her by her granddaughter, Cassandra Walters Canada, whom she spent countless hours helping to raise. Her grandson, Devin Buck Sevier, always brought joy to her heart. Juanita had many grandchildren and great grandchildren, and would often serve as a surrogate mother to kids in the neighborhood.

Ms. Miller struggled with chronic asthma nearly her entire life, which in her later years would often slow her down but never stopped her. Throughout it all, it wouldn’t be unusual to find her riding her lawnmower, wielding a weedeater, or tending the garden she still kept. She loved talking on the phone with her friends and traveling the country, with journeys to both Hawaii and Alaska in the US and as far as Mexico during a summer cruise with friends.

Juanita quietly departed this life on February 5, 2024, at her home in Woodbine. Her memory will be forever cherished in the lives of her children, her grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, stepfather, and her siblings, Eugene Swafford, J.C. Swafford, Bobby Swafford, Teddy Swafford and sister Judy Swafford Philpot.

A visitation will be held Friday, February 9, 2024, from  4 – 6 P.M. at Hart Funeral Home, located at 1011 Master Street Corbin, KY 40701.


  • Betty Kirby
    Posted at 22:18h, 06 February Reply

    Juanita was one of the sweetest ladies I ever met we met at woodbine Baptist Church then she talked us in to moving about a quarter mile from her we became like sisters we laughed n laughed so much the last night I was down there at her house we would go on many day trips together she is one of a kind and I loved her children as well as she did mine rest in peace my dear friend I will see you again one day my condolences to all her family Dennis wagers we love you

  • Ann Brewster
    Posted at 10:29h, 07 February Reply

    Ronnie the is the very best written obituary I have ever read. After reading this I felt as if I knew your mom❣️
    You know I have love you from our first meeting! I send to you my heart love and prayers🙏♥️🙏♥️🇬🇬

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