Madeline Muir, 76, passed away quietly at home on Feb. 4, 2024, following a lengthy decline in health. A native of Beaumont, Texas, she was born on Jan. 19, 1948, to the late Emmanuel Paul Chatelain and the late Earline Galland Chatelain. Among her many accomplishments were graduating top of her 1966 class at French High School in Beaumont, graduating from Lamar Tech (now Lamar University) in three years with a double major in history and English, and a career in education that spanned four decades, during which she perfected the art of the focused stare and finger point that kept many a first grader in line at St. Thomas More Catholic School in Baton Rouge. Madeline was especially proud of two things – her perfect penmanship and the fact that she earned certifications to teach children from preschool through high school.
Madeline began her teaching career as a history teacher at Beaumont High School, then began working as a preschool teacher at St. Anne’s Catholic School in Beaumont so she could be with her young children at the time. In 1984, Madeline and her children, Chris and Valerie, moved to Baton Rouge, and she became a first grade teacher at St. Thomas More. She became a fixture at the school until her retirement in 2012. As Mrs. Muir, she touched the lives of literally thousands of young minds, who either loved her or feared her, depending upon how they behaved. For many years, Madeline also worked part-time in the young adult section of the Jones Creek Library until her legs couldn’t handle the long days and nights.
In 1985, Madeline married her second husband, Clifford “Butch” Muir, and together, they shared many travels and near-travels, with a lot of misadventures in between. Because her jobs kept her out of the house so much, Madeline relished time staying at home, where she was often found dressed in one of her many muu-muus, sitting in her rocker recliner, surrounded by ever-present stacks of school papers she carefully graded herself so she could gauge how her students were understanding lessons. Depending on the year, a cat was always close at hand – first Lady, then Laverne.
Madeline had a dry wit she used to voice observations that were both true yet not always politically correct by today’s standards. When she enjoyed something, her attitude was more is better. This included her collection of lighted villages, SAS shoes, schoolhouse bird houses, specialty cake pans, tote bags, orthopedic purses (which she filled to the brim, negating any orthopedic benefit), CorningWare, and Yankee Candles.
Madeline is survived by her husband, Butch of Baton Rouge; son, Christopher Paul Miller of Tampa, Fla.; daughter, Valerie Jean Miller Gele of Prairieville; two grandsons, Aiden Christopher Gele and Aaron Thomas Gele, both of Prairieville; two younger sisters, Jane Thornhill (Rick) and Lynn Dias-Button, both of Baton Rouge; sister-in-law, Dotty Singleton (Eddie) of West Monroe; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her oldest sister Susanne Marie Chatelain, who died in infancy; her mother-in-law, Nona Cowan; and her son-in-law, Jason Gele, whose untimely and sudden death in 2019 gave her a sadness from which she never recovered.
Madeline will be remembered at a memorial service on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, at Resthaven Funeral Home, 11817 Jefferson Hwy., Baton Rouge. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., with the service at 11 a.m. The family would like to thank Hospice of Baton Rouge for services provided.