Cumberland Times-News

March 26, 2011

John and Juanita Miller mark 50th anniversary


Cumberland Times-News

— BARTON — On March 25, 2011, John and Juanita Miller of Barton celebrated 50 years of marriage.

Juanita Miller, formerly Juanita Llewellyn of Barton, and John L. Miller, also known as Jack Miller, originally from Lonaconing, and their four children and their families, will celebrate the event at the Finzel Fire Hall on Saturday, April 2, 2011.

Jack and Juanita are the parents to Jay West Miller of Hagerstown; Jessi Maness of Nashville, Tenn.; Joe Miller of Stockport, Ohio; and Jed Miller of Grantsville.

Jay Miller is married to Marcia Snyder of Grantsville, and they have two daughters, Stephanie and Jenna.  

Jessi is married to Luke Maness of Jackson, Tenn., and the two have no children.

Joe Miller is married to Amy Reed of Kingwood, W.Va., and they have four children, Weylon, Levi, MayKatherine and Monty.

Jed Miller is married to Carmen Nichols of Romney, W.Va., and they have three children, Dakota, Amberlee, and Colton.

Friends and family members will join the couple in their celebration, though it is not open to the public.   

As a reflection of their 50 years, we offer you the following story as a remembrance of their years together…and hope you enjoy it.

Times were so different in 1961 than they are now. In those days, a young buck asked for a young lady’s hand by approaching her father.  There may be a few of those types of men left in the world, but good luck finding them.  But Jack did ask Juanita’s dad, Dewey C. Llewellyn, for Juanita’s hand in marriage, and was honored with Dewey’s blessing.  

Often times, things were not easy.  After all, Jack was only 21 and Juanita only 17 when they started out. Nowadays we may wince at the idea of our children marrying so early, but they had strong wills, strong bodies and a strong love for each other, and thus, began their journey.

On a sunny March 25 in 1961, Jack and Juanita were married at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Lonaconing. Jack had to borrow $50 in order to take Juanita on a little honeymoon and shortly thereafter, he and Juanita found themselves in the hospitality of Jack’s oldest sister and her husband, Theresa and Bob Hutcheson.  Jack worked in the steel mill and at Pet Milk for a short time to try and make ends meet. Later, they moved to Barton, where Juanita had been raised, and made their own home.  

Their eldest son, Jay, was born on March 22, 1965, and the two established their home on Miller Road, not far from Juanita’s parents’ home and her former family farm.  But when Jay was still a baby, tragedy struck, and Jack and Juanita returned from an errand one afternoon to find their home had burned down,  all except for the foundation.  But together, they cleaned things up and stayed in that foundation home till they moved to their home down in Barton, near Mill Run.  And by then, Jessi had come along, and five years later, Joe.  

When the kids were still small, Jack and Juanita purchased some acreage from Dewey, up on Dan’s Mountain, and built the home they still live in today. And not long after their home was complete, their fourth child Jed came along in 1974. We understand there are some contraband photos of Jed eating his first Oreo cookie, but we’ve been denied access to publish them with this article.

Going back to about 1966, Jack and his younger brother, Arlen Miller, started a sawmill in Barton, and for a short while had a good run. Misfortune overtook them again however, when the sawmill burned down in 1978. There was nothing left. Jack went back to his roots, back to logging, which you may say, is what he was born to do. Currently, he is still logging and trucking — so don’t be surprised if you see him on the road.

 Jack and Juanita, along with the spiritual values they were instilling in their children, decided to give them the gift of music. Juanita had always loved to sing, and in her teen years had even sung on the radio several times with her girlfriends. And her father, Dewey, was known as the “one-man-band.” He played the accordion and sang, and it created very fond memories, not just for Juanita, but for her children also.  

And if you know Juanita for more than two or three minutes, you will likely hear about all four of her children and their families. Her love for her family seems like that which you might only see or hear about in a movie…sometimes much to her children’s embarrassment.  

The decision was made to give each child music lessons and allow each one to choose their own musical instrument.  They never imagined however, what the outcome would be.  Jay had taken guitar lessons, Jessi, piano, Joe, drums, and Jed, bass guitar. Voila! The Blue Denim Band was created.

The kids’ band played all over the tri-state area and had quite a fan base. This foundation of music is one of the many reasons Jessi chose to move to Nashville, and why you may still hear The Blue Denim Band if you happen to be within ear-shot of the Miller’s garage during any family gathering. Jay is still playing guitar and wailing Waylon songs. Joe still plays some mean drums and Jed’s right there on bass, still making it look easy, or as if he’d rather be dreaming.  

Well, dream or not, somehow they got through all the ups and downs.  The kids have all grown up, with kids and lives of their own. Jack is still logging and still trucking, even at the young ol’ age of 71, and Juanita is still by his side, as she has always been.

And we feel pretty safe in saying, she’ll likely always be.   

Happy 50th anniversary!