A Celebration of Life ceremony was held Jan. 11 in Keyport to honor the lives of influential Navy League members Helen Miller and Dr. Byron Faber.
Family, friends, Navy League supporters, local elected officials, and simply those who knew Miller and Faber came out to the Naval Undersea Museum to pay their respects to two individuals who devoted countless hours of their later years to local events and causes for the Navy. Former Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent led the ceremony.
“They were such an instrumental couple in the things they achieved, the friends that they made, and the difference they made through our community and of course our Navy,” Lent said in her welcoming statement.
Miller passed away in October at the age of 83 after serving 13 years in the Navy League. She was often a fixture at many community events. Born in Maidstone England, Miller later became a U.S. citizen. As a Navy League board member, Miller served as a liaison to the Bangor Marine Corps and Coast Guard Units, as well as a representative to the local tribes.
Faber passed away in June at the age of 75. Born in Akron, Ohio, Faber enlisted in the military after high school and was trained as a medic. In 1977, he moved to Bremerton and worked at Harrison Hospital with Evergreen Radiology for 30 years before joining the Navy League in 2006. Faber too was a longtime board member, supporting sea services in Kitsap and surrounding counties.
According to the Navy League website, Faber played an active role in arranging tours aboard aircraft carriers, submarines, and military bases along the west coast in Washington, Oregon, and California. He was also the Navy League liaison to the USS Bremerton and USS Washington.
“I knew Helen and Byron for quite a long time,” Navy Region Northwest Chief of Staff and former Naval Base Kitsap Commanding Officer Alan Schrader said. “Everywhere I went, there was Helen and there was Byron. They were just very supportive of everything we did here. We just can’t thank them enough and we’re going to miss them.”
“I’ve known Helen for about 25 years,” said David Ellingson, President of the Bremerton-Olympic Peninsula Council Navy League of the U.S. “If you ever met her, you would never forget her. She was a lifelong conservative and outspoken advocate for the Navy. If you were ever approached by her, you had a very tough time saying no to that woman. She will really be a tough act to follow.”
“I first met Byron probably 15 or 16 years ago,” Ellingson went on to say. “Byron embraced the Navy League as his purpose and vision in life and passionately devoted his life to supporting the Navy. He really cared about Navy personnel who were on the frontlines of our nation’s defense.”
Faber’s wife Pat was on hand and talked about the friendship she developed with Miller while Faber was sick in the hospital last year.
“Helen was such a darling, never had a true friend like her, I don’t think, in my life while Byron was sick,” she said. “This last year, she called once to three times a day while he was in the hospital. I’m proud to have ever known you and I’m grateful for your love.”