1922 Whittie 2014

Whittie Miller

February 15, 1922 — February 13, 2014

Whittie Miller, 91, of Charleston, SC, passed away on February 13, 2014, with his family at his side. He was born February 15, 1922, in Clarksville, Arkansas, a son of the late Alfred Whitman Miller and Mary Lee Maude Bohannon. Whittie grew up in Jamestown, Arkansas, and lived on a farm three miles from town. His family never owned a car. They did not have electricity until he was in his early teens. He was raised Methodist and became a Baptist in 1987. His father, Alfred, was a surveyor for a railroad company in Indian Territory, before it became the state of Oklahoma in 1907. His father then became a farmer in the spring and summer, raising crops of cotton, corn, potatoes and hay. They also had cows, hogs and chickens, which were used for milk, meat and eggs. In the winters, he worked as a check watchman for the coal mines. He would check the weight of the coal as it was brought up by the miners. His mother, Mary, was a homemaker. She was an excellent cook and always welcomed anyone to join them for a meal. She was also one of only a few midwives living in their community and so, she got called out all hours of the day and night. Their family was well-respected in the community, always willing to help someone in need. Whittie had two brothers and seven sisters. He did not have much extra time for outside activities, due to school and all the chores on the farm. Saturday afternoon or night, he would go to the movies to see Western serials that would last for 13 weeks. He would sell a dozen eggs or cream to get ten cents for the movie. Sunday afternoons, he would play baseball. He swam in the swimming hole and played marbles, hide and seek, click and wheel and hully gully. On rainy days, he would go to the cotton seed house and snuggle down in the cotton seeds to read cowboy, hunting or fishing books. His first job was when he was 14 or 15 years old. He worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad, driving a team of mules down the Arkansas River for 20 cents an hour. He would walk behind the mules, holding on to the reigns, guiding them while someone else would hold the handles of the slip (a bucket used to scoop the dirt) which attached to the mules’ harnesses. The dirt was then mounded up for the foundation of the railroad tracks. At the age of 17, Whittie quit school to join the CCC’s (Civilian Conservation Corps) to make money to help support the family. The CCC’s was a project started by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Depression, to give young men jobs such as planting trees and building roads. This was during the 1930’s – the Deep Depression. It was run by army captains and the men worked eight hours a day, five days a week. He was in the CCC’s for two years, the first year in Oregon, building irrigation systems for farmers and the second, in Hot Springs, Arkansas, working in forestry. He made 30 dollars a month and was allowed to keep five dollars, as 25 was sent home to his family. After the CCC’s, he went back home and worked at a sawmill, “doodling slabs of wood”, for 35 cents an hour. “Doodling” means he carried and loaded slabs of wood to the hillside that would then be split for firewood. Whittie joined the Navy in 1942, and had an allotment sent back to his family, to help make ends meet. He got his high school diploma from the Armed Forces Institute while in the Navy. After boot training in San Diego, California, he went to Aviation Metal Smith Training in Chicago, Illinois. As a result of this, he was assigned to aircraft maintenance squadrons during World War II. He served in World War II from 1942 – 1945 as an aviation structural mechanic. Assigned duties were in the Admiralty Islands in the Philippines. Once an island was secured by the Army and Marines, the Seabees would come in and build an airstrip, then a mess hall, and then the maintenance building. At that point, an aircraft maintenance squadron would be sent in. When he was discharged from the Navy, Whittie did aviation sheet metal work for the Civil Service. He was called back into the Naval Reserves in September of 1950, during the Korean War. His duties during this time were served in San Diego, California, at the Naval Air Station. He was discharged in June of 1952, and went back to Civil Service work. Whittie was active in Republican and Democratic campaigns. He was a registered Independent, but sometimes had a split vote. He was very active and held many offices in the VFW and American Legion, and the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of America. Whittie retired from Civil Service in 1974, and continued to do various jobs until 1982. He moved to Charleston, South Carolina, in 1978. Whittie was a member of James Island Baptist Church, serving in the kitchen crew. He enjoyed his Sunday school class, the Hannah Ruth Class. Even after his health declined and he was unable to physically attend, he still sent his love offerings. Besides his parents, Whittie was preceded in death by his first wife, Eleanor Olsen Miller; his second wife, Sarah Anderson Miller; one son, Jeff Miller; two brothers and seven sisters. He was the last surviving member of his family. Survivors include one son: John Miller and his wife, Stacey, of Summerville, SC; two daughters: Leann Piper and her husband, Mark, of Charleston, SC and Patty Whetsell and her husband, Herbie, of Manning, SC; daughter-in-law, Cheryl Keleher and her husband, Jay, of Delaware; eight grandchildren: Pam Anderson of James Island, SC; Drew Holst and his wife, Carolyn, of Tampa, FL; Bryan Miller of Eutawville, SC; Jordan Miller and his wife, Heather, of Delaware; Lindsey Garvin and her husband, Larry, of Hollywood, SC; Jeremy Trotter and his wife, Linda, of Arizona; Johnny Miller of North Charleston, SC; and Kevin Miller of North Charleston, SC; eight great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. He is also survived by his loving “daughter” and best friend, Martha Goss of North Charleston, SC. Memorial contributions may be made to James Island Baptist Church. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 1, 2014, at 2:00PM, at James Island Baptist Church, 2023 Wappoo Drive, James Island, SC 29412. The family will receive friends two hours prior to the service, from 12PM to 2PM, at the church. Burial will follow at Live Oak Memorial Gardens. Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at www.McAlister-Smith.com. Arrangements have been entrusted to McALISTER-SMITH FUNERAL HOME WEST CHAPEL, 2501 BEES FERRY ROAD, CHARLESTON, SC 29414, (843)722-8371

Visitation:
Saturday, March 1, 2014

Service:
Saturday, March 1, 2014
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