She was the type of nurse who was working even when she was off. If the phone rang in the middle of the night, Mary Miller would go to the hospital to help her colleagues.

In celebration of all the love she gave her patients and especially those closest to her, the Miller family are making a $150,000 donation to Okanagan College’s new Health Sciences Centre. The gift honours Mary, who passed away in October at age 83.

“My Mary would be so pleased and so honoured that we’re doing this for her,” says Dean Miller, her husband of 62 years and co-founder of Miller & Wyatt, a local auto parts store.

“Our mom was a tremendous caregiver, caring for us and caring for her friends and anyone in the community,” adds her son Bruce Miller. “She just means everything to us in terms of the love she gave us.”

The Miller family’s gift will support the student collaboration room, a shared study and technology space that will be open to all eight of the health care professions who will be studying in the Centre. The Miller’s gift will also support a care bed unit and another student gathering and study lounge.

Kathy Hattrick, Mary’s daughter, says they chose the student study spaces to recognize that their mother was always inclusive, and they hope the spaces provide opportunities for students to socialize and collaborate.

“It’s not just about the book learning, it’s about making connections, getting to know one another and building support systems,” says Hattrick, who is also a retired nurse.

“This new Centre is amazing, I was blown away by the level of technology. My mom would have wanted this, to help train the next generation.”

Mary was born and raised in Kelowna before leaving to train as a nurse at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster in the 1950s. After graduating, Mary returned to Kelowna to marry her high school sweetheart, Dean. They had three children together, Kathy, Bruce and Brian. Mary worked at Kelowna General Hospital for her entire career.

“This significant gift from the Miller family will have an incredible impact on our students and our campus,” says Yvonne Moritz, Associate Vice President of Education Services and Interim Dean of Science, Technology and Health.

“To see local families investing in health care education is extremely reaffirming for our students who can feel proud about entering in-demand health care careers. We’re deeply grateful for this support.”

Okanagan College has raised $3.5 million towards it $5 million fundraising goal for its new Health Sciences Centre in Kelowna.

To learn more or to donate visit

(L to R) Bruce, Kathy, Dean and Brian; Bruce and Brian are holding photos of their mother Mary Miller.