Delard August Miller
September 21, 1928 – December 13, 2020
Our sweet, sweet dad, and grandpa went to be with Jesus!! Delard August Miller, passed away Sunday, December 13, 2020 at Midland Memorial Hospital, at the age of 92. Delard, who was one of seven children, was born in Copperas Cove, Texas to Adalbert Nichols Miller and Ella Elizabeth Von Ruff Miller.
Dad was born just before the Great Depression. Shortly after his birth in Copperas Cove, the government wanted their property to build Fort Hood, so the family moved to Nolanville, Texas where they lived 12 years. Here, they lived close to the Lampasas River in a 4 room house with a gas lamp, a fireplace, no t.v. and only a wind-powered radio. The family only spoke German, but the kids learned English and spoke English to their friends. He and his two older siblings, Elmer and Leona helped with the 100 acre farm/ranch his dad owned—picking cotton, corn, vegetables, planting maze, feeding goats, pigs and milking cows. The 3 of them rode 1 horse to school each day. Before and after school, they did chores, of which dad’s was to milk 5 cows. They had no time for play during the week, only chores. Saturdays were spent in town, taking cotton to gin, taking pigs to town and trading them for money. When he and his siblings got to play, their play consisted of throwing a corn cob to each other around the haystack and throwing rocks off the edge of a hill into the river. About the only toy he remembers was a truck they played with in the dirt. They knew no different, and to them, these were the good ole days. A big treat was when their dad would go to town and bring home a Baby Ruth candy bar for the kids. It was a big deal during the World Series baseball season to get chores done early in order to eat and listen to the game on the radio at 1:00, until the radio would lose power. Every Sunday, the family went 15 miles to attend the Lutheran church. One Sunday, services were in German, the next Sunday, in English. After church, they would then visit relatives—usually one of his dad’s brothers and his family.
When Dad was 10 to 13 years old, he bought a fiddle at a secondhand store, and taught himself how to play. He and his brother, Elmer, who learned to play the guitar, would go to people’s houses for dances, and play country/western music.
Eventually, they moved between Salado and Belton to a farm. My dad got his first job in town washing dishes at a café. For fun, he would often catch a ride into Belton for a movie and a hamburger. He also enjoyed going to rodeos as rodeos were a big deal back then, especially on July 4th. He was always proud of the fact that one of his best friends, Johnny Boren, who rode horses and bulls in the rodeos, later became very well known. Soon Dad went to work at Griggs Equipment Company where he built desks and school chairs. He lost part of one of his fingers at this job, and would sometimes tease little children when he saw them picking their nose—saying this is what happens when you do that and show them his finger. He finally saved enough money to get his first car. Soon, all the kids were grown and moving away, and there was no one to help run the farm, so his parents sold the farm, retired and moved into Belton.
Dad met our mom, Bettye Joyce Elza who was working at First National Bank in Belton. They married In 1950, moved to Jal, New Mexico, where Dad became employed with El Paso Natural Gas Company. They rented a small apartment from Sadie Heslep across from the Methodist Church for a short time, then later moved to EPNG Camp #1 where they lived until Bettye died in June, 1985. Shortly thereafter, Dad retired as a Gas Plant Operator at Plant #1 after 35 years. He lived a few years in the old Jal General Camp across from the park, then moved to Odessa, Texas to be closer to his daughter.
Early on, Dad played on the town baseball team, but truly loved golf as a hobby and played for many, many years. He was Advisor of the Junior Odd Fellows Lodge, and helped shape the lives of many young men there in Jal. He was elected in the late 1960’s and was very honored to serve as Grand Master of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) of New Mexico. He was also very proud of an award he received in 1971 as Jal Citizen of the Year and still had the plaque awarded him hanging in his home. After moving to Odessa, he spent many years volunteering as an Auxiliary and Board member at Medical Center Hospital, and later at Odessa Regional Hospital. Most of his volunteer hours were spent popping popcorn and working the Registration Desk at the Pre-Op Lab in the MCH Wheatley Stewart building.
Dad loved God, his family, and the Church. He was raised as a Lutheran, then once in Jal, became a member of First United Methodist Church. After relocating to Odessa, he became a faithful member of Crescent Park Baptist Church, serving as a greeter and singing in the choir.
Dad was preceded in death by his wife, Bettye of 35 years, his parents, and all 6 siblings. He is survived by his daughter, Diane and husband Mark Tittel of Odessa, son, Danny and wife Debbie Miller of Carlsbad, granddaughters, Lauren and husband Brady Mason, Kaitlyn and husband Justin Holcomb, and Stephanie Miller. He is also survived by a new great-granddaughter, Hannah Mason, who had not been born at the time of his death. He is also survived by a brother-in-law, Jesse Herbert (Sonny) Elza, Jr., 5 nieces and 9 nephews.
The family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to those who cared for Dad including Dr. Ortega and Albany, Marquetta, Sharon, Jeremy, Cindy, and the many other care-givers at Madison Medical Resort in Odessa, and to Dr. Chadalavada, Dr. Vogel, Tyler, Darlene, Heather, Leslie, and the many other angels on 6th floor nursing staff of Midland Memorial Hospital, and to Hospice of Midland. Not to forget those who cared for him on occasion at Medical Center Hospital.
Thank you family members, friends, and Crescent Park Church family for cards, visits, and prayers now and all the while Dad was in nursing care. Our only regret was not being allowed to visit him since mid-March during this COVID pandemic; however, we have certainly felt your prayers and God’s presence during this difficult time.
Dad, we are going to miss your big ole smile when you would see us! Also, we’ll miss the times we or the nurses would ask you something and you didn’t want to speak or didn’t feel good, you’d give a grin and wink;)
The body will be available for viewing 9:00am-5:00pm Sunday, December 20, 2020 and Monday, December 21, 2020 at Frank W. Wilson Funeral Directors, 4635 Oakwood Drive, Odessa, Texas. Graveside services will be held at 2:00 PM (Central Time) or 1:00PM (Mountain Time) Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at Jal Cemetery in Jal, New Mexico with David Pool officiating.
Memorials may be given to the Bettye Miller Scholarship Fund, c/o J.A.L. Club, P.O. Box 778, Jal, NM 88252.
Bettye Miller Scholarship Fund, c/o J.A.L. Club
P. O. Box 778, Jal , NM 88252
Tuesday, December 22, 2020