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May 7, 1926 – March 3, 2013

Elsie May Stryker Miller, of the Town of Tonawanda, counted among her accomplishments having laid the groundwork for establishing an Avon sales representative program at the University of Buffalo campus at a time when women had fewer work opportunities outside the home.

She died Sunday at Weinberg Campus in Getzville. She was 86.

Born Elsie May Durr in Pittsburgh, after graduating third in her high school class in 1944, she qualified for a full scholarship to Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa.

Her plans to study for a career in higher education were put on hold because of World War II, however, and after the war, she married and raised a family.

In 1955, she and her first husband, George Czapko, moved from Cleveland to Buffalo and took over the management of the oriental rug department in J. N. Adam & Co. Department Store.

When the company went out of business in 1960, she and her husband bought out the lease and took over the rug business.

At that time, she went into business selling Avon cosmetics door-to-door and by August 1960, became city sales manager.

Mrs. Miller was given the freedom to develop her sales district and, with the help of her supervisor, developed the first “Diamond Pin District” in the Buffalo area.

During her years with Avon, she was able to lay the groundwork for establishing a sales representative program on the UB campus, giving dormitory students an earning opportunity to help with their expenses.

After her retirement in the mid-1970s, she served as a volunteer on the boards of many local organizations, including the YWCA of the Tonawandas, DeGraff Hospital Auxiliary and the Kiwanis Club of the Tonawandas.

Her first husband, Czapko, died in 1990. Her second husband, Benjamin Stryker, died in 1994. Her third husband,William Miller, died in 2008.

She is survived by a daughter, Gloria Longo; a son, George J. Czapko Jr.; and a stepson, Thomas Stryker.

A service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 96 Jewett Parkway.