Miriam Aberle Southerland passed away on February 4, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee with her family and friends by her side. She is preceded in death by her parents, sister Jane, and brother-in-law Byron Martin. She is survived by her husband of 52 years, James Southerland; her two daughters Elizabeth White (Matt) and Susan Fouche (Steve); four grandchildren, William, Emmett, Nicholas, and Ellie; three siblings Elton Aberle (Carrie), Roger Aberle (LaVonne), and Katie Martin; and many nieces and nephews.
Miriam was born September 12, 1944 in Sabetha, Kansas to Alf and Irene Aberle. She attended a one room school in rural Kansas through grade 8 and then graduated from Sabetha High School. Miriam then attended business school and worked in Topeka, Kansas as a legal secretary. She eventually joined Senator James Pearson’s team which prompted her move to Washington, D.C. There, she lived and worked on Capitol Hill. And there, she met her future husband, James Southerland.
Miriam and Jim married on April 11, 1970. In 1974, she gave birth to their twin daughters Elizabeth and Susan, and they raised their family in Arlington, Virginia. Miriam continued to work as an assistant to several attorneys and as personal secretary to Senator William Fulbright.
In 1993 Miriam and Jim moved to Richmond, Virginia where Jim owned two restaurants. She continued working as a legal secretary at a Richmond law firm while helping Jim at his restaurants on the weekend. In Richmond she also discovered her passion for needlepoint. With Miriam’s meticulous attention to detail, she thrived in her new hobby.
After Jim sold his restaurants in the early 2000’s they moved to Nashville, TN to be close to their children and grandchildren. In Nashville, Miriam worked part time at a law firm for a few years and then settled into working part time at Nashville Needleworks in Brentwood. Here, she loved serving needlepoint customers and organizing many, many needlepoint retreats and events. And anyone who knew Miriam greatly admired the canvases she beautifully needlepointed.
She is deeply missed by her family, friends, and her Needlepoint Girls.
Miriam’s memorial service will be held at Harpeth Hills Memorial Gardens Funeral Home on March 4, 2023. Visitation 10:30 / Memorial Service 11:30am.
In lieu of flowers, please remember Miriam with a contribution to Apostolic Christian LifePoints—a home that serves adults with intellectual disabilities and the home that took such wonderful care of Miriam’s sister Jane.
Apostolic Christian LifePoints
2073 Veterans Rd.
Morton, IL 61550