NEW YORK—A devastating illness not only did not slow her down as the senior designer for Karastan Rugs, it fueled her spirits and became her passion. Unfortunately, after a longtime battle with breast cancer, Elizabeth Miller succumbed to the disease May 3. She was 50.
“She was one of the most remarkable women I’ve known,” said Bill Kilbride, president of Mohawk Home, a sister division of Karastan. “For five years she turned a devastating illness into her passion. She maintained her spirit to win even through her final days.”
A native of Levittown, Pa., Miller co-owned her own design firm, Miller-Farrell Designs, before joining Mohawk Industries. She was initially a consultant to Mohawk, but joined the company shortly after it purchased American Rug Craftsman (ARC) in 1993. ARC morphed into Mohawk Home, where Kilbride said she played a key role in driving the design direction of area rugs.
Miller joined the Karastan division eight years ago as senior vice president of style and design, working out of the company’s New York City showroom and frequently traveling to Eton, N.C., to work hand-in-hand with the company’s design team.
Upon being diagnosed with cancer in 2005, Miller worked tirelessly with various foundations and organizations, including with other executives in the home textiles industry in support of breast cancer awareness. She founded the Home For The Cure foundation in support of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a global leader in breast cancer awareness.
Kilbride noted Mohawk has been and will continue to be a “huge supporter” of Komen. For example, through its Specify for a Cure program, the company’s commercial division, The Mohawk Group, donates 25 cents to Komen for every yard of carpet from
Karastan Contract, Durkan Commercial or Durkan Patterned Carpet. To date, more than $3 million has been contributed by the mill.
While raising awareness for breast cancer became a passion of hers, Kilbride said Miller’s strongest passion was her son’s education. As such, Mohawk Home has established the Elizabeth Miller Memorial Fund to help her son Oliver Miller-Farrell continue his college education. Contributions may be sent to Northside Bank, Attn: Elizabeth Miller Memorial Fund, 1300 Lover’s Lane Road SE, Calhoun, GA 30701-3988.
In addition to her son, Miller is survived by parents Leatrice and Mark Miller; brother, Jim; and sister, Maggie Myers.