Martha Neel Miller died on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020; she was born Jan. 5, 1925, to Urbin Lloyd and Alma Alice (Simpson) Miller in the coal mining camp of Brownie, Ky. She was the second child of 10 and, as one of the older siblings, went to work on the farm and cared for the younger children. At age 4, she escorted her older sister to school, knocking down spider webs with a stick and, since she was already there and spiders have a habit of quickly spinning another web, she began her schooling early. She was an apt pupil, mannerly and well behaved; thus was established a devotion to education of herself and others.
Martha Neel had a beautiful soprano voice and sang with her sisters in a trio. She had a trim figure, good posture and a nimble mind. She was the practical one – hardworking and rather pertinacious. After arriving in Arkansas in 1946, Miss Miller attended Harding College, graduated from ASU with a degree in elementary education and worked on an advanced degree at University of North Texas. Her 34-year teaching career included Crossett, Ark., Sikeston, Mo., and Grand Prairie, Texas. During her tenure, she was awarded Outstanding Teacher of the Year and was an NEA delegate, driving in New York City as her fellow teachers told her where to turn at a time before GPS.
She retired in 1986 to the old home place and devotedly took care of her aged parents and younger bachelor brother until they passed. She also ran the farm, gardened, mowed grass, preserved produce, mended fences and was a news afficonado and crossword puzzle solver. She was a member of 1st Baptist church of Searcy, past member of Amas de Casa EH Club, a volunteer and exhibitor at the White County Fair and a certified judge in Art, Home Preservation and Horticulture. She had many Best of Show Ribbons – the most recent a beautiful quart jar of Roma tomatoes. Her green beans were precisely 25mm long and cut on the bias into the perfect headspace.
Miss Miller was predeceased by her parents; brothers, Myron, Namon, Robert and Donald Miller; and sisters, Nancy Patterson, Marinella Haygood and Reda Gatlin. She is survived by her brother, Frank Miller of Kalispell, Mont., and sister, Alice Terrell of Stillwater, Okla.; and as you may expect, nieces and nephews from the East to the West Coast. A special thanks is due to her caregivers and friends, Fern Merrell, Charlitta Smallwood, Kasey, Sierra, Monica, Dawn, Renea and Paula.
Visitation will be Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, from 10-11 a.m. at Roller-Daniel Funeral Home with services following and internment at Gum Springs Cemetery.