"Her compassion, and awareness, were wonderful," Braase said. "I couldn't thank Charlene enough for what she did for Janice."
Not that the Millers are saints. Like other married couples, they've bickered at times.
Jake can still see his father shielding his mother as a brawl erupted after one of his high school football games.
"Things got heated in the parking lot, and the (Boys Latin) coach shoved us onto our bus," Jake said. "From my window, through the (scuffling), I saw mom being engulfed by this man. Dad stood there, with both arms around her, like nothing else mattered. There was stuff going on all around, but he was perfectly calm in that little area that he maintained, like the eye of a hurricane."
But Fred couldn't save Charlene from her genes.
His attitude toward her disability isn't surprising, Miller's old teammates said.
"He approaches this the same way he played football — with patience and dependability," said Bob Vogel, the Colts' Pro Bowl offensive tackle who roomed with Miller for a decade. "You always knew what Fred would do, on the field or off. That level of integrity is precious."
Time hasn't changed Miller, Gino Marchetti said.
"Fred is right there to do the things that a lot of guys wouldn't do," said Marchetti, the Colts' Hall of Fame defensive end. "No matter how much they love their wives, some guys just aren't that type."
He never hesitated, Fred said.
"God put us on earth to accept what he sent," he said. "Me? I'll get over it, I'm a big boy. But I feel bad for Charlene because she hurts so bad and there ain't nothing I can do. Her disks are degenerating. Her lower back is just a mass of whatnot, and the nerves are all confused. She's gradually getting bent over, and it's not gonna stop."
Charlene takes about 15 pain pills a day but denies herself the strongest meds.
"I want to save that stuff for when things get really bad," she said. "As I get weaker, and more crooked, things will get worse. I'm not stupid; I'm a nurse."
The farm is still a refuge for old Colts. Several months ago, quarterback Bert Jones stopped by, as he'd done many times while playing for Baltimore in the 1970s.
"I'd go there to relax and for a home-cooked meal," said Jones, himself an LSU grad. Nowadays, he visits to pay his respects and to cheer up Charlene.
"She is going through some pretty tough times, but they are soul mates who are dealing with life's challenges as best they can," Jones said. "Theirs is a classic love story."
One recent afternoon, as Charlene napped, Fred puttered in the kitchen, preparing a slow-cooked meal of Cornish hen, potatoes, carrots, celery and herbs.
"Me and the crock pot get along pretty good," he said.
Upstairs, Charlene awakened.
"I need you to help me, baby."
"Just a second," he said, wiping the countertop. "I'm a-comin'."