Personal History of Lila Fullmer Miller
Contributor: finnsh Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Lila Margaret Fullmer was born on August 12, 1912 to James Dicken Fullmer Jr. and Margaret Ann Laura Miller. Her birth took place on the Mathis Ranch in Price, Utah. It was a very hot and humid day. The birth was difficult because she was born feet first, but Dr. Slopinski handled the situation very well and everything turned out okay, she lived at the place of her birth approximately 9 months, then moved with her family to Spring Glen. They lived there until the spring of 1916. Lila was the fifth of ten children. She had three brothers: William Evan, Earl Owen, Gilbert Allen (died in 1914), and six sisters: Wanda Myrle, Irma Cleo, Martha Ellen, Mary Ann, Iva May, Ada Berthele. She also had two step brothers from her father’s first marriage: Wallace Fullmer and Richard Fullmer.
In 1916, she was 4 years old, the family moved to Elko County, Nevada. Her father acquired a ½ section of land for farming. He had gone on ahead of the family. They came later on the train. She remembers the red velvet seats on the train and how scared she was. Her uncle, George Hanselman, was the conductor; he consoled her by letting her ride with him. Her father met them in Rogerson Idaho with her uncle Gilbert Miller and Grandfather Perry Miller. They were all happy to see one another. She had lost her fear of the train. The family later moved to Rogerson, Idaho and lived with an uncle. From Rogerson they moved in with another uncle, Dave Prowes, until a dirt floor, one-room log cabin (30’x21’) was built for them. She helped with the house by peeling bark off some of the logs. Here they lived in close harmony, good health, plenty of warmth, good food and clothing until the fall of 1918. The winter of 1916 and 1917 was most severe, the snow being very deep and the temperature very low. We suffered no hardships. It was a great source of concern for her mother, being snowed in with no help within 4 or 5 miles. Their closest neighbor was uncle Dave Prows and the nearest town, Rogerson Idaho, 25 miles away. Their only means of travel were snowshoes and skies. They had much fun that winter. Her father built her a crude set of furniture which she prized very highly. Her mother read many stories to them, “Black Beauty” and may stories from the “Home Comfort” magazine. When spring came, 1917, there were floods which washed out roads and bridges further delaying trips into town.
In 1918 her mother’s brother, Gilbert Miller, went to war and was killed. There were bright sides too. We went visiting neighbors. Uncle Dave Prowes, Mr. & Mrs. Eli May and son Mike, Montgomeries, Lowe family and Willi’s family. They had many long rides in their two seated white top buggy drawn by old Florrey and Mollie or by two Mules, she didn’t remember their names but did remember their speed. Her father would rattle a chain and they would tear out. They would also haul loads and loads of wood. The family also dug a swimming hole in the meadow. Lila nearly drowned in it that summer. She has been afraid of water since then. In September of 1918, she was 6 years old, and in the first grade at the Bickel grade school. Her teacher’s name was Miss Tuttle, a very nice teacher. In the summer of 1919 moved back to their property in Nevada. In the fall of 1919 they moved again, so the older children could go to school. this time they moved to Hollister where they purchased a home. She was 7 years old. She attended school in Hollister through the 7th grade. She likes school very much and liked her teachers. They were; Miss Brittamart Wolfe (her favorite)-5th grade, Miss Iva Simmons-1-3 grades, Miss Betty Roberts-4th grade and Miss Violet Holderman-6th grade. Her father leased sheep to raise. They went to the community church at first. Edward Webb, a Bishop from Incom, Started gathering members until he had a nice sized branch with Brother Wray over it. This was the first organized branch in Hollister; they met in the school house. Here Lila was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on May 3, 1921 in a bath house by William Behunin and confirmed by Brother Tolman. She was happy to have their own church. There were traveling missionaries who came through their area and were berating Joseph Smith. Lila stood up and told them they were lying and she called Brother Wray to come there to correct the missionaries. Brother Wray commended Lila for standing up for what she knew was right. He told her that she should study and learn more about the gospel. Not long after, Lila’s father bruised his neck after being bucked off of a horse. From this he got lockjaw, which eventually turned into cancer of the jugular vein. He went to the Mayo Clinic but they didn’t dare operate because of the bleeding it would cause. He died in his home on August 24, 1921.
Lila’s family stayed in Hollister until 1925. Her mother worked in the post office and drugstore that were both together in the same place. Her mother wanted to have the telephone switch board in her home but the Cole family got it. They hired her mother to work the switchboard in the winter. In the summer her mother cooked for the thrashing crews. Lila would go with her mother to help. Lila also worked for Mrs. Klusmire who was sick; she also washed dishes for women. Her brothers worked for the railroad and the canal company. Her sisters would do house work wherever they could. Her mother’s brother, Perry Miller, helped out too. With this help and the fact that her mother would make there clothes for them and could stretch a dollar a long way, they never felt poor. They had their needs met and a good mother to nurture them.
Lila and a friend, Wilda who was a bad example, stole an apple from Uncle Bill’s store. She couldn’t eat it. Her mother found it and made her take it back. Uncle Bill knew Lila wasn’t that kind of girl, but Wilda was. Lila learned a lesson and was so sorry she had stolen the apple. She made a friendship with Jenny Picock that has lasted the rest of their lives. They were in the same grade in school, 4th-6th. Lila sat behind Jenny and would tickle her neck. Lila gave Jenny a thimble that she still has. Jenny’s family left Hollister and ended up living in Salt Lake City, Utah, close enough for them to stay in touch.
In the spring of 1925 the family moved to Union, Oregon. As a child, Lila developed a strong desire for learning. She loved going to school. In Idaho, she had had to take various state exams, and received high marks on them. In Oregon, she had to study agriculture, which subject she came to enjoy thoroughly. Lila continued to achieve good grades; however, she did struggle a little bit with math. Basic arithmetic was comprehensible to her, but the classes leading into algebra left her scratching her head. When she began ninth grade the following year, she had no choice but to take those dreaded algebra classes. Unfortunately, Lila’s algebra teacher didn’t know any more about the subject than she did, so once again she was unable to excel in math. Lila enjoyed living in Union. She made a lot of good friends and many were LDS. She made a lasting friendship with Lorraine Bolander Pompel and with the Leigh family, they had 5 daughters and she was first introduced to the priesthood when she watched Brother Leigh give one of his daughters a priesthood blessing because of a bad heart. Her family moved to Oak Grove area next. There was a dance academy run by Mr. and Mrs. Walker. They had a dance every Thursday and Friday nights. She would get her mother to go with her and her friend’s sisters to be their chaperone. Sometimes the Walkers would give her mother free tickets to get her to bring all her girls. Lila would babysit to earn money for the dance tickets other times. They would ride the streetcar in and ride the last car back at night. They had a lot of fun.
In 1927, Lila’s family moved to Portland, Oregon. Here they raised chickens and made a living partially on selling eggs. It was here that she finished the 8th grade and entered high school, Lila had been reading medical books. One day when she was bathing her younger sister, Iva and noticed spots on Iva’s hands and feet. Lila recognized them as being small pox, Dr. Miller confirmed it. The family was quarantined and Lila took care of them. Lila later received small pox as well, it was a bad case, but she made it through, afterwards the Dr. showed her how to fumigate the house. A short time later lightening struck their house and burned it down. The Dr. said she didn’t have to go to that extreme to fumigate the house. The lightening struck the day after George Washington’s birthday, a couple months after Lila’s sixteenth birthday, fortunately nobody was hurt, but this tragic event had lasting effects on Lila’s life. Due to the holiday, Lila had brought her books home with her to study, and when the home burned down, the books burned with it. Lila’s mother couldn’t afford to buy more, so she had to quit school, and sadly she never had the opportunity to go back. They lived in a rented home after that. Lila’s mother picked raspberries and Lila tended her younger sisters. Her mother was brought home sick and Lila diagnosed it as diphtheria. The Dr. said if Lila said that’s what it is then that is what it is. Lila took care of her mother but didn’t get it herself. Some of the children stayed with friends. Dr. Miller wanted Lila to study in the medical field but she wanted to stay with her mother to help out. She feels that she might have drifted away from the church had she left home to study medicine.
After their home in Portland burned down, they lived in a rental home. Lila’s family had to move back to Hollister, Idaho in 1928. The family took care of the hotel and lived in it too. Her mother also worked as a housekeeper for other women and helped mothers with their new babies. Lila helped take care of the hotel, she also did a lot of babysitting and any other work she could find to help support her family. She was also known as an exceptional cook, and this attribute provided another source of income. Upon moving back to Idaho, the family moved into an apartment complex which was connected to a bank. They made an agreement with the owner of the apartments and bank to manage the apartments in exchange for free rent. In the absence of her mother, Lila had the responsibility of feeding the family and keeping the place clean. It was hard sometimes, but she was grateful for the experience. In 1929 her mother married a man she knew when she was younger. He was a little older than her mother. In 1933 she divorced him, he was not a good man.
Later that year Lila and her family moved to Nephi, Utah. Here Lila found a job helping pregnant women after giving birth. In those days, women had to stay in bed for ten days after giving birth. Lila always thought this idea was very idiotic and foolish, but that’s the way it was. Her job was to take care of the family, clean the house, cook, and contact the doctor if needed. She also canned fruit, churned butter, made bread and so forth. She earned a dollar a day, and sometimes worked up to 18 hours a day. Occasionally the family could not pay what they owed her, and in such cases Lila just simply went without pay. She didn’t really mind too much. She was thankful for the opportunity to work, and experience felt like it was a good experience for her.
The Great Depression hit that year, on October 29. Her experiences during the depression taught her many great lessons. She learned to a greater degree how to work hard, save, and share. She said it was depressing in the fact that there were not monetary things, but she thought it was one of the best times there ever was. You get a lot of learning. You learned to do and you learned to share. She took food or whatever she had to exchange with others. Despite the conditions of the time, Lila felt that it was a good time in her life. One thing she noted about this time period was the level of honesty in society. “People were honest, you never got cheated. You may not have got it in money, but you always got paid.”
Well, the move to Nephi turned out to be a good one, because this is where Lila met her future husband, Elliott Vanzant Miller. A description of the Lila’s life would not be complete without a description of her sweet heart, Van, as well. He was born on November 18, 1908; the only boy in the family, the baby of the family and the apple of his mothers eye. From age 5 to the time he was 8 years old, he was experiencing broken arms every year (sometimes 2 a year). Van was an inquisitive child who always had to see how things work, and that didn’t always work out well for him. His mother had a washing machine that had a long plug in it to keep the water in. He wanted to see how well he could balance on the spigot. It didn’t work too well, he broke his arm. He and his father were good pals. They always went fishing and hunting together. From an early age he would always say, “I’s ready to go fishin’!” Weather they were planning on it or not, he was always ready. To this day, Van is known as the marble-playing champion of all Nephi, Lavan and Mona. People still remember that he was the marble champion. Lila said she kept many of his marbles, even though she lost a lot of hers!
When Van was about 20 months old, his mother had a baby buggy she liked to wheel him in and he liked to wheel it around. Their home faced the railroad tracks, just across the road, one day he wheeled the buggy onto the track and a train was coming. The engineer saw him and the buggy on the track in time to call for the fireman to jump off the train and rescue Van. He had a lot of narrow escapes and a lot he didn’t escape because he was so adventurous. One time he was hurrying fast on his bicycle to priesthood meeting and the spokes broke. He landed on his nose and broke it and crushed his scull a bit. He didn’t make it to the meeting that night. After they were married, when Van would come home from work at night, Lila would make a thorough examination to see if he was hurt and many times he was. Many times he worked close to someone using blowtorch and once Van reached up to do something and the man moved his torch and seared Van’s hand clear to the bone. Lila took care of it and thankfully it healed properly. Another time when he was working over in Ephraim, he got acid in his eye when a battery blew up. They had to drive from Ephraim to Provo to get him the proper help. Van wouldn’t let Lila drive, so she was his eyesight. Hurt or not hurt, he wouldn’t let anyone else drive, sometimes it was very foolish. Another time, in their later years, we were shopping at K-Mart in Orem, which is several miles from our home, and he had a heart attack at the check out counter. He wouldn’t allow Lila to call the police or ambulance. He said he would drive himself to the hospital. She knew the danger of it and that was harder on her than it was on him. When he got to the emergency parking lot he sent her in to tell them. Van didn’t allow Lila to hook him up to oxygen that day. Lila says Van was strong willed or bull-headed or both. But still her sweetheart! Another time they were shopping, Lila didn’t want him to go. He insisted they hunt for winter boots for her. They searched the Provo and Orem areas and stopped at Norton’s, she is not sure why they stopped there, but just as they got to the check stand, he had a light stroke. This was in 1988. Lila was the stronger will this time and wouldn’t let him drive even though he wanted to. He couldn’t talk, Lila called Wendell (her oldest son) and he took them to the hospital. He got so he could talk and move around a bit, but he was in the hospital for quite a long time, but he never completely got over it. He had a lot of trips to the hospital after that. He passed away October 14, 1988.
Lila said that Van was a fun person to be with and very ambitious. He was musically inclined and played the mandolin well and entertained her many times. He could sing too and whistle. Getting him to do it was hard, but if caught unaware he could whistle better than anyone. He was a mechanic, that’s how he made his money. They didn’t have much, but they had enough to get by on. He loved his children. When he’d come home from work, his boys would meet him at the door and they’d scuffle all the way through the house. Sometimes I’d have to threaten them with their lives if they didn’t get outside to do their scuffling, they all enjoyed life together. He was an avid fisherman and hunter. He went deer and elk hunting almost every year and usually got a good specimen. Throughout the depression, he always had a job and never had to be on WPA (Van took great pride in that fact). Except for one time, when they were building a swimming pool at the high school in Nephi. The builder got the contract, but it had to be under WPA. They had to work around the clock so the cement would be evenly spread and the man would only accept the contract if Van would run the machinery for him. Van was also a good dancer, and that’s on of the things that attracted Lila to Van, because she loved to dance. As their years went on, he gave up dancing, which was hard on Lila, but she gradually grew into the fact that she didn’t need to dance as much as she did as a youth. When Van was 39 he broke his back. From then on he didn’t have good health. He always honored his priesthood. He was a good husband and father and Lila loved him. She said “he is my sweetheart to this day, we had a lot of fun together. We enjoyed our family and they’ve turned out to be good boys and girls. I’m thankful for being his wife and the mother of his children and for our posterity. I miss him greatly, but I’m thankful that he’s where he is because I know he’s getting ready for me to come.
This is how she met Van, she was seventeen. She went with her mother over to his mother’s place to visit on night, we were related. Van came in and his mother introduced me and sparks flew right from the first. The night after we met Van asked her to go out with him. About 3 miles away from town, just off the road, there was knoll, like a small hill, and Van backed the car clear up to the top. They sat there and looked at the sights down in Nephi. It was beautiful, he showed her deer, you could see their eyes, and there was brush and stuff all around there. That was our first date. She said “I’m telling you my heart got clear to the bottom of my stomach backing up that knoll. I don’t know which was worse, going up or coming down.” Later on she learned that there was a contest between the young men of Nephi to see who would be the first to get to the top of the knoll. Van was the first one to make it to the top, there were a lot who made it up after him but he was the first. Van and Lila had a lot of fun dating, going to dances together and having lots of fun, then things started getting serious and when he asked her to marry him about 2 weeks after they’d gone together, she thought “No way!” But she soon got to the point where she loved him very much and wanted to be with him all the time. One night they went out with a group and they ended up being out very very late and her mother was very very displeased. She wouldn’t let Lila go to bed. Lila says “It was a Saturday night after they’d been to a dance. It wasn’t a good thing to do, but I did it and she taught me a lesson. She wouldn’t let me go to bed all that day and she worked my hard all day. She told me I couldn’t go with Van any more.” On Monday her mother sent her to town to do some chores and she saw Van, he asked her to go out again. She said yes and went home and told her mother that she had another date with him and her mom said she wasn’t surprised, but she better remember the rules. Lila says “I know we were suppose to meet and get married and I’m thankful we did.”
Van and Lila were married on April 21, 1930, just after the big depression started around October 1929. Van was working at the garage and he didn’t get off until noon. It was the day after Easter. He came home and they went to Provo to get their marriage license. Van asked her which she would rather have, a car or a ring. She said, “Let’s get a car, and get some good out of it.” And so, on the April 21, 1930, the day after Easter, Van and Lila drove to Provo in their 1929 Chevrolet to be married. They were speeding along in Payson and they got picked up, the policeman asked what the hurry was. Van told him that they were in a hurry to get their marriage license before they closed. He said, “Anyone that is that much of a damn fool to get married, I’ll help out.” And so they were escorted into Ironton by a police car. Van’s sister and brother-in-law owned a hamburger joint called the Lil’ Hungry in Ironton and they wanted them to be their witnesses. But when Van and Lila informed them of their intentions, they didn’t believe them! Well, Van and Lila needed to get to the marriage license bureau, so they didn’t waste time arguing. So they went up to Provo to get married and called in some last minute witnesses. Lila said “I had on a pretty spring dress.” Afterward, they went back to Van’s sister’s house, and showed them the license, they finally believed Van and Lila. They took them to a show and to eat. Lila said “We had the best hamburgers I ever tasted.” That night Van’s horse, which was born out in the Jerico area, got loose and had gone back to where it was raised. So they spent their wedding night in the car looking for the horse and sure enough they found it.
Van and Lila moved in with Van’s parents, and he worked as a mechanic. Though they had to move around a lot, Van always had work, and was never forced to go on WPA (Work Projects Administration), a government agency that brings about recovery by giving work to the unemployed. The depression was still underway, so money was tight. Nevertheless, they always had enough to get by. It seemed to her that currency was replaced by work. They often bartered, or exchanged their work and talents for food.
Van went up to Salt Lake to school. He was always going to school to learn more about mechanics and he got some mighty good training, which made a mighty good life for us. But that was the longest time for Lila. He was away three nights and that was forever for Lila. She was there with his sister, who she really enjoyed being with. They always had fun together. Van and Lila didn’t have a baby for awhile. She had several pregnancies, but lost them all, then, about a year after they married, On May 13, 1931, Van and Lila went through the Manti temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. Lila described this as one of the happiest days of her life. “That was the day I knew Van really loved me, when he took me to the temple,” she remarked. Van was working for his cousin out on a ranch and he called Lila and asked her if she could be ready to go to the temple the next day. His cousin was a very good, religious man. Lila was ready and they went and got a recommend and went to the Manti temple.
They moved around Utah a lot. They were living out of suitcases because Van would hear about a job, maybe it would last a week, maybe it would last a month. Some of them lasted several years, but he was never without a job all during the depression. Lila says “Van was a good provided, we lived out of suitcases a lot, we moved and moved and moved here and there, but it was a good time in my life.” The life they led was transient, because they moved from here to there and every where and they saw a lot of the country. They met a lot of new people that they wouldn’t have met otherwise. They were growing up together in the depression years, it took a lot of growing up together to endure things like that. There was a lot of bartering done between talent and food. Some people would need their cars fixed and they didn’t have money but they had plenty of food. Van and Lila would take flour, potatoes, apples and butter (they didn’t need to take much butter though because they had their own cows). They traded work for things and Lila would go out and take care of women who had babies. Her work consisted of taking care of the lady and the family, doing the washing and ironing a lot in those days, Lila says “It makes me tired just thinking about it now. But it consisted of all those things, come canning time she’d can fruit for $1 a day, for 18 hours a day many times. But money wasn’t worth much in those days. She remembers when she could buy a box of a dozen shredded wheat biscuits for 8 cents and gasoline was 19 cents a gallon and when it would go over 21 cents they thought it was terrible. But they had lots of fun. The first winter they were married, it was very cold, they heated their house with a wood burning stove. So they would go up to Salt Creek Canyon in Nephi, on some property that Van’s cousin owned, and they’d wade in snow that was almost to the top of the bib on Lila’s overalls. They’d get their load of wood and come down to Nephi where they lived with Van’s folks and Van would chop up the wood and the next day it would be the same thing all over again. Even with getting wet and wadding in all that snow, neither one of them had a cold all year long. To this day Lila can’t understand why, because if she gets chilled now, at 81 years old, she’d probably have pneumonia.
Lila gave birth to her first child, Berdella Lorraine Miller, on September 27, 1932 in Nephi. She was a blessing to us, she was a beautiful soul. The lord prepared me for what was coming and she didn’t live to be a year old. She died of a kinked bowel. They were still living with Van’s parents until Berdella died when she was 9 months old. Then they moved to the Tremonton, Utah area, where Van was working on road construction. They lived over in Elwood, Utah with their aunt in the Miller family. Lila helped tend and did other things while they were there. Then they moved out to Snowville, Utah and Lila was expecting another baby. They stayed there until the weather made it so they couldn’t work anymore and then they went back to Nephi. They were there for a couple of weeks, then they moved to Provo because Van got a job as a mechanic and they lived on 1st East in the North East part of town, that was where their first son, Wendell was born. Lila said “We lived there for a long time. It was our favorite place. Wendell VanZant Miller was born here on December 21, 1933. They went on to have three more children: Marilyn Miller, August 21, 1935 in Nephi, Norman Elliot Miller, March 2, 1937 in Provo, and Marj O’ Lee Miller, September 19, 1940 in Nephi.
When Wendell was about a year old, they moved over to Ephraim for a while because the work at the garage had sluffed off and Van found another mechanic job there. They were there for about 9 months. Lila remembers that everything over there was electrical, cooking and everything. The power company would come to read the meter and tell us that we didn’t use enough power to write out a bill for it. We were there for months and that was one thing that still amazes me about that place, it was a blessing for us. It was still depression time and we ended up having 4 more children after our first one died.
Both boys, Wendell and Norman, were born in Provo and all their daughters were born in Nephi. When Norm was 6 weeks old they moved to Vernal and lived there for about 2 years, then they were called back to Nephi because of an emergency in Van’s Mother’s health and they got her back on her feet. Marj O’Lee was born in 1940 and they moved down to Cedar City to another job because Van was very aware of where to find jobs. All this time they were moving back and forth, they always had a good home. Van was a working man and they always had plenty to eat. They could buy clothes so cheap and shoes for very little money. Everything was high quality and lasted a long time.
They always enjoyed being together as a family. They’d go camping and fishing and when the boys got older, they would go fishing with their dad. The girls would go sometimes too, but Lila never cared too much about going fishing.. She said “It wasn’t much fun for me, but Van and I would go deer hunting and that was my vacation every year.” Then they moved to Provo and bought their first home in 1942, it’s still their home today. They had their own cows, fruit trees and everything.
Shortly after the depression was over, World War II started. They had plenty of money then, because everyone was working, but there wasn’t anything to buy, except war bond. They had to go on rations and had food stamps and if you didn’t have the stamps, you didn’t get the food. Shoes were the hardest things to deal with for a growing family, because they’d grow out of their shoes. That was one of the hardships. Gasoline and tires were rationed, so you couldn’t go anywhere. Everything was rationed so we spent our family time together.
Van was drafted and was ready to go into the service. They called him out to the Dugway Army base in Tooele, Utah and he was in the fire department up there. It was always nice when daddy came home, of course. When the war ended he was released from Dugway and they had a strong feeling to cash in their war bonds and they paid off their house. They bought some additional ground by their lot and they also bought enough food storage and things for a whole year. This all happened in December of 1948 and a month later on the 3rd of January, Van was helping a group of men push a car off the street into the garage for the night. Van was on the back end of the car when one of the men slipped and the car rolled back and broke 5 disks in his back. That meant that Van was through working and it required surgery. He ended up having 5 different surgeries. From the time Van was injured until he died he had ill health. He filed for workman’s compensation but it never came through. Lila says “Without having that food and out home paid off, we wouldn’t have been able to make it.
Lila went to work after that (for 28 years) until 1977 and then retired. She worked at school lunch and a turkey processing company. She worked 4 years as a kitchen manager of a restaurant. During their rough times Lila says she couldn’t have done a lot without the help of her children. She remembers Norman found a job with another boy in a barbershop in Provo. She says “He was very well liked there and he had pretty good business sense, and he always remembered to bring home a sack of groceries on pay day. It was the same with the other children. The girls would babysit, and they also always remembered to bring home a sack of groceries whenever they got pay. That’s the way they are today. They just take good care of her and she appreciates them.
When the kids all grew up and moved away, Lila and Van lived a quiet life together, and they enjoyed it very much. She was with her sweetheart, and that was all that mattered. On October 14, 1988, Van died of his third heart attack.
She has 31 grandchildren, 19 boys and 12 girls. (One of her grandsons, Wendell Curtis Miller is now deceased). They are all beautiful people. Good men and women. Her youngest grandchild is going on 13. So far she has 33 great-grandchildren. The boys outnumber the girls, but not by very far. They are all beautiful children and I enjoy them so much. My first grandchild is Micheal Elliott Miller. He was born August 15, 1959 and my first great-grandchild is Tawnie Lyn Miller, (Mike’s first child) was born on February 13, 1981 and she let’s you know that she is my first. I enjoy that very much. I enjoy all my family immensely. They are all good to me. We have lots of fun together and lots of things to laugh about.
Lila had a calling since the spring of 1989 to do family history extraction and she enjoys if so very much. Lila says “I enjoy all my calling in the church and I’m so thankful that I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I know it’s true. I love the Book of Mormon and I enjoy studying it. I know that I wouldn’t be able to do the things I do today if it wasn’t for the blessing s that the lord gives me. I have exceptionally good health, according to the doctors, at my age of 81. I have no arthritis, I sure can talk a lot, but I have a lot of love for people. People are special in my life. I have a lot of long time friends and we’ve stayed close. I love to help people. I know that if we don’t help each other, we aren’t doing the lords work, and there are always plenty of ways we can help each other. Lift them up, spiritually and physically. There are a lot of people who suffer from emotional trouble. I’ve been blessed with impressions, knowing when to go see certain people, who need lifting up. I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful that I try not to waste time. Time belongs to our Father in Heaven and we should not waste it. As I said, I know the gospel is true and I’m thankful for my membership in it. I’m thankful for the privilege of having been blessed with a temple marriage, having my family eternally mine, providing I do what I’m supposed to do. I’m going to endeavor in every way to do it and help guide my family along the way. We all need to have guidance; I don’t care who it is. We have to know that we are loved and honored for who we are. I ask the lord’s blessings on each and every one of my family members. I’ve seen miracles of healing, if we have faith enough. I’ve seen people return to the gospel. There’s nothing more delightsome than to see people turn their lives around and come back to the lord and accept his invitation to come unto him.
Their family grew up, all of them graduated from High School and left home. Wendell went into the Navy during the Korean conflict and he served there until his time was up. Lila says “I’m very happy, I miss my husband, but I keep busy and I travel a lot. I love life!”
After Van’s death, Wendell, Lila’s oldest son, moved in with her. And in 1999 she moved in with her youngest daughter Marj O’ Lee. Lila always said that she wanted to die with her boots on, and she did. On August 11, 2000, Lila died while standing at the sink doing dishes. Even then the Doctors didn’t find anything wrong with Lila; it was just her time to go.
Joshua Kirk Miller, one of Lila’s great grandsons, wrote part of this history for a class, at the end of his report he wrote the following: Lila Margaret Fullmer Miller is my great-grandma. I was twelve years old when she died, so I was able to get to know her pretty well. I was always excited when I heard Grandma was coming up to visit. She was a very special person in my life, and a strong role model to me. I never heard her say anything bad about another person, and she was always positive. I look forward to seeing her again in the next life. Some of the history was also recorded on October 1, 1993 by Lisa Ann Miller (Granddaughter). While the rest of the history came from, many stories told by Lila to other family members.
Norman Elliott Miller
Contributor: finnsh Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Norman Elliott Miller was born in 1937 on March 2nd in Provo, Utah. He grew up in Provo as well as in Nephi. His grandparents had a ranch up in Nephi by Salt Creek and he remembers taking cows up there with his cousin, Nick Hall, who was 10 years older than him. They would go up and eat breakfast, milk the cows and then go back. His favorite childhood memory is riding horses all the time.
His dad, Elliott Van Zant, was an automobile mechanic. He was a big man who was very talented and could build anything. Norman would go hunting with his dad and said his dad was such a good shot that he could strike a match with his 22. Norman’s mother, Lila Margaret Fullmer, was a very special person. He never heard her talk badly about anyone. She saw the good in everyone, and he admired that. He said that she probably lived closer to our Heavenly Father than anyone he ever knew. The love she had for everyone was inspiring.
Norman had one brother and three sisters. Berdella, who was the oldest, died before Norm was born. The second child was Wendell, who was very good at football and wrestling. He was also a bookworm. In grade school he’d read huge books all the time and was very interested in studies and learning. Marilyn came next and she was a lot like their mother. She loved everyone – growing up, she never said anything bad about anyone either. Norman was the fourth child and Marj O’Lee was the baby of the family and she was spoiled. Their dad didn’t think she could do anything wrong. It seemed she was his favorite.
Norm never knew his Grandpa James Dickens Fullmer because he died at a young age, leaving Grandma Fullmer (Margaret Ann) to raise 9 children by herself. She was very special to Norm. She was very beautiful and he loved the way she carried herself. Up to the day she passed away, she always looked so neat.
Norm’s Grandma Sarepta Jane Miller was a hard working lady. She did 99% of the farm work. His Grandpa Elliott Miller worked for the newspaper as a sports writer. He was also a school teacher and did a lot of other things. He wasn’t into farm work, so grandma always did it. Norm thought maybe she wouldn’t let him.
Grandpa Miller passed away when Norm was about 8 years old. Norm always felt that he had diabetes. He remembered that before his grandpa died, he’d sit in his bedroom and eat candy corns. His grandpa was a hunter and would draw out an elk tag every year, but his dad never did. Norm figured he has a connection with someone because no one is that lucky.
Norm always had horses, but he also had dogs. His favorite was a springer spaniel named Spotty. His dad never let him hunt with that dog when they were together, because his dad had pointers and Spotty would always beat them to the birds. Spotty could get more birds than you would ever think. He was a good little dog. Once, Norm took him hunting on Utah Lake and he shot a goose that was bigger than the dog. Spotty swam out on the lake to bring the goose back. Norm thought he would drown, but he made it. Norm and his buddy Jon Taylor would always take Spotty duck hunting because he always got the ducks they shot. Norm’s favorite horse was Merry Legs, she was a Palomino Shetland.
Norm went to Franklin Grade School in Provo. His favorite teacher was his 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Cullimore. He hated to read in front of people and she helped him overcome it. His 2nd grade teacher had been mean and he had struggled before the 3rd grade, but Mrs. Cullimore really boosted his confidence and made him feel better about reading. Norm said he thought he was quite a big shot when he was young and he regrets that he never said “Hi” to her later when he was in high school.
Every grade school in the city of Provo had a baseball team and they’d go around and play each other. He was fortunate enough to be on the team in the 4th grade, which was mostly made up of 6th graders, because he was a good hitter. He remembered that the other parents would be there to watch, but his parents always had to work. Every time he got up to bat a guy he knew, Gilbert Fields, who owned his own business and had a lot of money, would tell Norm that he’d give him a dollar if he hit a home run. Norm got a lot of dollars. Baseball was a big deal back in those days. All day Saturday there were ball games. By the time he was old enough to play city-league he was busy doing other things, but he did play in junior high and high school.
Growing up, all they did for fun was ride horses and play sports. They never went on vacation because they didn’t have that kind of money. This was during World War II, when gas and tires were in short supply. They had an old John Deer B Tractor and it started on gas until it got warm and then they had to switch tanks and run it on diesel. He remembered that they also had stamps back then to pay for things, but even with money in short supply, he still had a lot of fun as a kid.
Norm was baptized in Provo. There was a place the church owned and it was where everyone got baptized. His dad wasn’t active at the time and didn’t baptize him. But he remembered that after his baptism his mom took him out for a banana split.
Norm went to Dixon Junior High and Provo High School. At Dixon, he was the class president in 7th grade. They also had a police force, and he was the chief. He played football, basketball, baseball, and tennis. He always had a job and was always working and earning money. One spring he didn’t participate in any sports because he was so busy. Mr. Whitney, who was his favorite teacher (he taught history) and was also the tennis coach, asked him to try out, and he said, “I don’t know how to play tennis!” He had never even picked up a tennis racket. Coach said “You don’t have to, just ride around with me.” So he did. He was actually more like a manager. His favorite sport was football. He was a tight end and defensive line-backer.
Norm’s best friend was Jon Taylor. One thing he learned from Jon’s dad, Bunn Taylor, was “Don’t ever cuss a man’s dog, or his horse.” To this day, Jon is still Norm's best friend. They did a lot together. They said they’d never get married, own a ranch together, and live it up single, but things changed when he met Karen.
In high school Norm was very popular. He got a car the day he turned 16. It was a 1941 Chevy. Then he bought one every year after that because he always had a job to pay for it. He always had good jobs and made good money, but he also helped his family out. He was smooth with the ladies, but he never wanted a girlfriend until he met Karen Jones. His first date with her was a horseback ride up Rock Canyon in 1954. They continued to date after that for 4 years. Norm’s mother loved Karen too and told him that if he ever did anything to hurt her, he’d be in big trouble with her.
He attended church weekly and attended seminary his sophomore year, but the seminary principal didn’t really want him there because he was a trouble-maker. Norm was just fine with not going, since he didn't really care for it. He had a lot of fun and made many good memories in high school. He hated not being able to go back after graduating in 1955. He never had a single bad memory, not even in junior high.
After graduation, Norm went to work for Rio Colorado Uranium Mining Company, down on the San Rafael Desert. The president of the company was a good friend of his neighbor, Tom Wilkerson, and that’s how he got the job. He worked there for two years. He lived in a trailer there and had a jeep to tour the plains. Karen was 2 years younger than him and while he mined, she finished high school. After mining, he worked for the Union Pacific Railroad as a brake man. While he worked there, he often wrote to Karen and he’d come home once a month to see her.
On November 1st, 1958, Norm and Karen were married at her parent’s house in Provo. He never actually asked her if she’d marry him, he probably said something like, “Let’s get married”. He used to say, “We’re gonna get married one of these days” and he was never in a hurry; but neither was Ruth (Karen’s mother). The other women in the ladies club would ask her, “Who’s Karen with?” and she’d tell them, "Norman Miller." They’d say, “That’s the wildest guy in the whole town!”
After they were married they moved to Nampa, Idaho. Karen had never been out of Utah County until she married Norm, then she went everywhere. He later quit the railroad so that they wouldn’t have to move so much because he knew it was hard on her.
In 1959, he got his Job at Thiokol in Promontory, Utah. He held positions as lead operator, supervisor, foreman and manager. He was the only one in the management without a college education. Something he learned from his experience there was that, “You’re only as good as the people that work for you. They make you and don’t ever forget it.” Thiokol changed to ATK just after he retired in 1999. For 20 years he also built homes with Gail Welling. He worked nights at Thiokol and days building homes. After he retired, Gail taught him how to make wooden inlaid tables and with Karen’s help designing the tops, he made beautiful tables for each of his 8 children.
When Norm first went to work for Thiokol they lived in Brigham City. They began looking for ground for their horses and found and purchased some land in Fielding north of the grade school. He said that people in Fielding didn’t really like outsiders. They just didn’t want new people in their town, but their bishop made them feel welcome. They bought a trailer first then they bought the small home to the north, which they later built on to. Before they added on to the house, at one time they had six kids in one room with them
Norm said that there isn’t anything he doesn’t love about Karen. She’s the best thing that ever happened to him and he doesn't know what he would do without her. His advice on marriage to a man is “You put her on a pedestal, you keep her on that pedestal and nobody or nothing can remove her from that pedestal!" On April 3rd, 1964, they were sealed together for eternity in the Logan, Utah Temple. They also had their 4 little boys sealed to them.
Together, Norm and Karen had eight children: Mike, Jon and Kirk (twins), Gary, Shawn, Jared, Laura, and Lisa. Norm said, “They’re the neatest little buggers that ever lived.” They always went hunting together. Due to Norm having two jobs when they were growing up, there wasn’t a lot of time to spend with his kids. He would never advise anyone to do that. He did support all of them in their sports and he would always take a week off in the fall to go deer hunting with the boys. In the winter, when they were little, he would hook up a sled to his horse and pull them around in the snow. He loved to be with them. He still does. All his kids were rough, but he wouldn’t want to change a thing about any of them. They always respected their elders and people always had something good to say about them.
Norman has had a lot of church callings over the years. He served as a Sunday school teacher, high priest quorum instructor, counselor in the bishopric, high councilman, bishop, counselor in the stake presidency (7 years), home teacher, and missionary.
He said that a home teacher is the best calling. He used to think he was a horrible home teacher; thinking that they didn’t want him there, until he had Sister Ashby. Emily Ashby was a grand lady who made him feel like he was really wanted. He would go see her more than once a month. After two weeks, she’d call him and ask when he was coming over. After they split the ward, he’d always wonder if someone was taking care of her. She would give her tithing only to him to give to the bishop. Home Teaching was one of his most important callings and he could see the good in it. He really enjoyed it, and he had the best two partners; Grandma and Billy Rhodes.
Norm served two missions with his sweetheart. Their first was in Morristown, New Jersey, from April 2001 to April 2002, and the second was in Cove Fort from March 2008 to September 2009. They also served as workers in the Logan Utah Temple for four years (2002-2006). Norm loved the mission in New Jersey, even though it was a rough place. He said that the Spanish people there were very humble. He and Karen were there during the tragedy on 9/11 and some people asked, “Well couldn’t the Lord have stopped this?” and he would say, “Of course He could have. He could do anything,” but he learned out there that trials and tribulations are what help us grow and learn. There were many times in New Jersey when they had come close to death or close to being hit by a car, but the Lord kept them safe. Norm even dedicated their car to the mission. On their mission in Cove Fort, he served as the assistant director. He loved that mission as well, but he enjoyed being a missionary more than being a director. Being the director involved sitting in a chair and telling everyone what to do and he liked that, but not nearly as much as the missionary work. He couldn’t compare the missions because they were all so different, but he loved both of them.
When Norm was called as a bishop in the Fielding Ward, he only had six days to get his bishopric together. He really wanted to call a certain person, but he never got the feeling that he should. He went to the Stake President, who told him to take his list again, go through it and pray about it, he would receive an answer. Norm wasn’t going to give up and he finally got a good answer from the Lord. He was very glad with the way it turned out because he got who the Lord wanted. Norm loved the gospel with all his heart. Next to his sweetheart, it was the most special and sacred thing to him. He felt sorry for those who don’t have it in their lives.
Prayer was an important part of his life. Norm remembered a time when he was sixteen and he and his dad were up in Nephi deer hunting. He left his dad and walked up into a big canyon and shot a deer. He took it back to where his dad was and put the deer on the jeep. When they tried to get out of the canyon, they couldn’t because of all the snow. They’d go up the canyon road and they’d slide right back down. His dad said, “We’re going to have a prayer right now.” They knelt down by the jeep, said a prayer, and tried again. The jeep went right on up the canyon! His parents really believed in prayer and so did he.
On another occasion, after the family arrived home his mother said, “I can feel the presence of the devil in this house.” Before they went in, she had his dad say a prayer to cast him out. She had felt something so cold and horrible that she knew what it was. After the prayer, the bad feeling was gone.
Once, when Norm was serving in the bishopric with Bishop Welling, they went to a camp on the Snake River with the youth. Some of the boys had brought some hard rock music with them and they were listening to it at night. Pretty soon the girls started screaming. Bishop Welling had Norm go get the music from the boys and then he went to give the girls a blessing. When Norm walked into the boy’s tent, he felt the same cold that his mother had felt all those years ago. He cast out the devil and then got the boys settled down.
Norm had diabetes since the age of 56. He also had open heart surgery and a few broken bones, but overall he never really felt like his life was too difficult. He would have liked to have spent more time with his family instead of working all the time. He always had what he needed and felt that he was quite blessed. He knew that those blessings came from the Lord. For the most part, Norm was happy his whole life, but he was the happiest after he married Grandma. Family and the gospel were the most important thing to him, and they went hand in hand.
Norm's best advice was, “If you want good advice, go to the scriptures and pay attention to what they’re saying because every bit of it is good. And I think family is the most important thing there is. The rest of that stuff is garbage. There’s nothing more sacred than an eternal marriage. You get to be with your family forever and that’s the only thing that’s important.”