August 19, 1920 ~ March 2, 2009
Murrel Miller's Journey
Murrel Emery Miller was born in Rankin, Oklahoma, on August 19th, 1920, to Lester and Myrtle Miller. He was the oldest of 10 children. In 1924 the family moved to Paonia, Colorado to enable Lester Miller to improve the condition of his lungs, which were damaged during World War I. They returned to Oklahoma about 10 years later. The Miller family farmed the land and Lester wanted Murrel to become a farmer. But when his boyhood friend Charles Carey introduced Murrel to radio, farming didn't stand a chance. Murrel was very skilled with his hands and could take old radios apart and fix them. At age 19 he opened a radio repair booth in the corner of a store in Canadian, Texas. One of the conditions for keeping his booth was that he had to go to church every Sunday. This led to his becoming a Christian.
About 1940 Murrel went to San Diego with his sister Helen and her husband Bill Parks. There he found work at Consolidated Aircraft assembling B-24 bombers.
He was inducted into the Army in 1943, and not surprisingly was accepted into radio training school. He was assigned to a troop transport ship as the ship's radio operator and made several trans-Atlantic trips to the Mediterranean. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1946. After the war Murrel continued to study electronics through mail-order courses.
Murrel began dating his eventual wife Navada shortly after he returned home from the war. He asked Navada's father for her hand in marriage while they were working together planting seed. It was rather casual, something like "Well, do you think we should go to Cheyenne and get a marriage license?" They were married August 4, 1946, in a ceremony at her parents' home. They lived briefly in the state of Washington before finally settling in Southern California in 1947. Murrel found work at North American Aviation in El Segundo eventually becoming their chief communications technician in charge of their fleet of corporate jets and helicopters.
Murrel and Navada raised 2 children: Mike born in 1951 and Ken born in 1955. The family began attending South Bay Church of God in Torrance in 1952 and has continued worshipping there ever since. Murrel has had many jobs at the church over the years including treasurer, Sunday School teacher and office assistant. However, what most people will remember him for is designing, installing and operating all of the sound systems. He faithfully mixed the sound for all Sunday services, recorded them and made copies upon request. He also took the lead in installing the electrical wiring during the construction of the sanctuary in 1958. He was honored with a plaque at church naming the media center after him in recognition of sharing his technological gifts with the church for 54 years.
Murrel was very handy and could fix just about anything, including the toaster that he had for 50 years. He fixed it time and time again instead of just buying a new one. His boys realize that his interests in science and technology had a positive teaching effect on them. He once had a side business raising chinchillas and also had a license for television repair. He enjoyed his Ham radio hobby and was able to contact people in over 200 countries.
His first grandchild, Curtis, was born in 1986 followed by his granddaughter, Molly, born in 1988. He and Navada enjoyed watching Curtis perform in numerous plays and Molly compete in soccer and volleyball.
Murrel and Navada took some well-deserved trips in retirement, touring much of the United States and Europe. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a trip to Paris.
Murrel was a quiet man who led by example and was known for his cheery, good-natured personality. He had the natural ability to roll with the punches. Mike remembers leaving a restaurant following a steak dinner that was terrible and Murrel saying "that wasn't too bad."
Murrel had always enjoyed good health until his stroke at the age of 85. He was paralyzed on his left side and never recovered much function. He lost his wife Navada after 60 years of marriage on November 9th, 2006. He felt fortunate to be able to stay in his home under the watchful eye of a wonderful caregiver, Pauline Smith. During the last 2 weeks of his life Pauline could hear him singing "When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder." He died peacefully in his sleep about noon on March 2, 2009.
Murrel is survived by his children Mike and Ken, daughters-in-law Kathy and Dina, grandchildren Curtis and Molly, and sisters Erma Rainey and Hazel Jackson of Oklahoma and Joan Martinez of Florida.
Visitation and viewing will take place Saturday, March 7th from 5 to 9 PM at Rice Mortuary located at 5310 Torrance Blvd, Torrance, California.
The funeral service will be held Sunday, March 8th at 3 PM at the South Bay Church of God located at 17661 Yukon Ave, Torrance, California. A reception will follow at the church.
The burial service will be held Monday, March 9th at 10 AM at Green Hills Memorial Park located at 27501 S. Western Ave., Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
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