Paul Miller Turns 100
Paul Miller was born 100 years ago on July 4, in a small community called Bethlehem, located five miles from Judsonia.
He was born during WWI and was raised on a farm with his two brothers, where his family raised cotton and strawberries.
He attended a one-room schoolhouse, and at age 14 left home to finish high school in Beebe. While in school, he paid $9-10 a month for room and board. After graduating from high school he completed a degree in English and social science at Harding University.
The majority of Paul’s life has been working in the agricultural field. He was a principal and teacher at White County School for five years, then went on to obtaining a federal job with Soil Conservation Service (SCS). He moved all over the state for the job, and applied for every vacancy available for a promotion, he said.
He got married at age 29 and had four boys with wife Alyene. Not only was he a federal employee, but also raised crops for a living, from cotton to sweet potatoes, and at one point had a commercial dairy.
For two years they raised peanuts as a commercial farmer. During WWII peanuts were crushed and made into oil that was used for military purposes, he explained. The pay, however, “was nothing to get excited about,” he said.
He also remembers raising 14 acres of strawberries, only for the market to crash. He got the tractor and plowed them up. “A few of the old timers made wine, but you couldn’t even give them away.”
Through the years Paul has been introduced to many modern conveniences and technology. When he was born there was no running water, electricity and only a few paved roads in the city. He remembers the first radio being operated by a car battery that was brought in the house each night. His first car was a Model A Ford Roadster that he bought after completing college.
At age 51, Paul went back to college and earned a four year agriculture degree and secured a federal administration position with SCS.
Before he retired he was introduced to computers, and said a lot more work could be completed with a machine than by hand. He retired from SCS after 24 years.
After 59 years of marriage, Paul’s wife died of cancer. A long-time family friend, Jewel, also from Judsonia but living in Mountain View, had also recently lost her spouse to a heart attack, so Paul asked her to marry him.
“I didn’t want to, but I did,” Jewel said about marrying Paul. “I told him I didn’t want to take care of another man, but he said ‘I’ll take care of you,’ and I haven’t been sorry.”
The couple had known each other for years, and knew each other’s families for several generations.
They have now been married for 20 years, residing on Poff Street in Mountain View.
Family get-togethers are always a big occasion with both of their families, Paul explained. They each have more than 20 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. He said a family photo consists of about 97 people.
“I can’t keep count, and there’s more on the way,” he said.
He credits his longevity to staying busy working and clean living. He said he hasn’t used tobacco or alcohol and has watched his diet. He has four sons, Paul R., Dennis, David (deceased), and Royce. He has always been a member of The Church of Christ, and currently is a member of School Avenue Church of Christ.