How did Shirlene Miller die? Town Topic chef and KC icon Cause of death explained

Shirlene Miller, Town Topic chef and 47-year Kansas City institution, passed away at age 85. Let’s see How did Town Topic chef and KC icon Shirlene Miller die and Shirlene Miller cause of death in detail.

How did Shirlene Miller die?

When they visited the Town Topic store on Broadway Boulevard, many people referred to Shirlene Miller as “Mom” or “Mama.” She has given comfort to Kansas Citians throughout the city since the 1960s. She passed away at the age of 85 on November 16, 2022.

Shirlene Miller cause of death

Shirlene Miller cause of death was not disclosed yet. There are no information available about Shirlene Miller cause of death.

Medico topics have been trying to reach out to the family and relatives for comment on the incident. So far no responses have been received. We will update the page once enough information is available. More information on Shirlene Miller cause of death will be added soon.

Who was Shirlene Miller?

Shirlene Miller was born in 1937 in Pea Ridge, Arkansas, and traveled to Kansas City through St. Louis, where she first met her late husband, Marvin Miller, when she was a teenager.

The couple had seven kids at first and many more grandchildren later. She applied her waitressing skills to land a job at Town Topic in 1962, the year her youngest child turned one. Roberta Collins, her daughter, recalls Miller calling everyone in the diner “Babe.”

Miller was a safe space

A source of calm in a sea of anxiety, Miller just started up the grill with steady hands. It served as her go-to defense against everything, even large throngs of people standing in three-hour lineups and errant visitors who showed up alone.

Since she began working at Town Topic in the early 1960s, she has frequently taken orders, cooked burgers, and engaged in conversation while standing behind the counter. She served as a safe place for the many people that walked by and called her “Mom” or “Mama.”

Young Shirlene Miller ,
Standing in the Town Topic kitchen on Broadway Boulevard at an undisclosed time.
Submitted by Family.

Miller’s Daughter Roberta Collins remembers old days

“The more they’d come in the more she’d learn their names and their families,” Collins said. “She’d stand behind the counter when we weren’t busy and just chit chat back and forth with them.”

Collins, like many of Miller’s daughters and grandkids, assisted her mother in the workplace when she was little girl.

 “She’d say get over here and do these damn dishes.”.

Miller’s Daughter Shirlene Stalker  remembers old days

Shirlene Stalker, Collins’ daughter, started working when she was around four or five years old.  Stalker remarked, grinning and imitating her grandmother’s movements,

“You gotta be busy, you gotta bus some dishes, you gotta take out the trash, make shakes. You gotta do something to work for this family. Nothing’s free.”

Miller’s son Bob Miller remembers old days

When Bob Miller was a little boy, he recalled cooking in Town Topic with “Mama” and one particular incident in which he accidentally dropped a freshly fried grilled cheese in front of a customer while sliding it across the counter. Everyone laughed.

Bob Miller said:

“She had a good sense of humor, And I’ll tell you what, more than anything, she was compassionate.”

1981 Hotel Crash

Shirlene Watkins Miller arrived at Town Topic Hamburgers on Broadway Boulevard on a balmy Friday night in July 1981, ready to work another graveyard shift teaching her 15-year-old daughter how to wash dishes.

However, two glass walkways in the lobby of one of Kansas City’s most well-known luxury hotels had just fallen apart less than a mile to the south.

114 People dead

Around eight o’clock in the evening, a big band dancing competition had just completed when two suspended glass walkways from the Hyatt Regency hotel crashed into the lobby, killing 114 people and wounding more than 200 others.

The air was hazy with dust. Firefighters and police swarmed to the site, and sirens wailed as they labored quickly to rescue individuals using pickaxes, shovels, and their hands.

In the nights that followed the fatal Hyatt Regency collapse, both he and Roberta collaborated with her to prepare coffee, hamburgers, and hot chocolate for first responders.

“It was somber and hectic,” Collins said. “[Police] had the bodies all over the sidewalk. It was terrible,” Bob Miller said.

“The down and outs, mom would get them a cup of coffee and let them stay there. Then she’d turn to me and say ‘Later on why don’t you give them a sandwich?’” he said.

Then she’d pull out her purse out from the cabinet and slyly drop cash in the register, Bob Miller remembered.

“Sometimes I’d be a little critical of the people coming by all dirty,” Bob Miller said. “And she’d say, no matter how they dress or what they look like we’re all human beings and deserve respect and kindness.”

47 years Experience

Shirlene Miller had experienced everything over her 47 years at Town Topic.

Her family reported that a wedding was performed beneath the neon sign of the diner, her granddaughter gave birth while eating chili at the counter, drunken fights were broken up under the supervision—once with a sugar shaker—and people escaping violence sought refuge behind her counter.

She provided little children who were homeless with hamburgers and gave many more who were homeless a place to rest.


Shirlene Miller struggled with pressure sores in her legs from standing all night, and she eventually resigned in 2009.

The years that followed were spent visiting family and gambling. On Nov. 16, she passed away at the age of 85.

At the Funeral

Many people showed up for her service, and they all sobbed as they each related a separate account of Shirlene Miller’s strange escapades.

Some believed she was elsewhere, enjoying a beer with her husband, wondering aloud why her loved ones were crying.

Bob Miller said,

“She never said I love you.”

“She’d say ‘I know, because we knew she loved us and that we loved her.”

One of the worst things anyone can go through in life is losing a loved one. As a result of this death, we are currently praying and thinking about everyone who is going through a trying time. Any journey must have a destination at the end. The person’s time on earth has regrettably come to an end now that they have died.

We wish her eternal peace and send our thoughts and prayers to her loved ones, family, friends. May she rest in peace.


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