Obituary -Orpha Miller Wingfield
Orpha Miller (October 9, 1909 - April 19, 2016)
Orpha May Wingfield was blessed to live 106 (and a half) wonderful years. The family will be celebrating her life at the Fair View Cemetery in Tularosa at 10:00 o'clock on April 25, 2016 with Charles Walker officiating.
Those of you that know about Orpha's strong will and fabulous independence will not be surprised that she has written her own obituary. The family is proud to offer it for your reading. Orpha Miller was born near Mayhill, Territory of New Mexico, October 9, 1909 to Ollie Miller and Josephine (Josie) Parker Miller. Both parents were of early pioneer families in the area. Mrs. Wingfield lived in the Sacramento Mountain area at various locations until ten years of age. She attended school in Weed, New Mexico through the third grade. In August of 1920 the family left the Sacramento Mountain area and moved their cattle to a ranch in the San Andreas Mountains, west of the Tularosa Basin. Orpha entered fourth grade of school in Tularosa and attended all of grade school and high school in Tularosa, and graduated in 1929 as Valedictorian of her class. She was a member of several organizations including Sunshine Girls Sunday School Class of Tularosa Methodist Church, Junior Woman's Club of Tularosa, High School Glee Club, High School Dramatics Club, High School Girls Basketball Team for four years, Tularosa Woman's Club, Cloudcroft Ropers Club, Horseback Square Dance Team, and Cloudcroft School Parent-Teachers Association.
As a teenager she worked at odd jobs, like cafe work and in a drug store during high school and after, until 1931. On November 28, 1931, Orpha married Walker Lee Wingfield, also a member of another pioneer family in the area. They lived on Albert B. Fall Three Rivers Ranch where Walker worked until January 1934. Mr. and Mrs. Wingfield moved to Tularosa and Alamogordo in January 1934, working various jobs. This was during the Depression, and jobs were scarce. From 1937-1938. they went to Chicago, Illinois where Walker went to Electrical and Refrigeration School. From there they returned to Tularosa and Alamogordo until October 1940. In 1940 the Wingfields moved to Cloudcroft where Walker worked for Otero County Electric Co-op, distributing electricity to the mountain area farmers by means of portable generators located in Cloudcroft, and building transmission lines over the surrounding areas. While Walker worked for the Co-op for 11 years, Orpha first worked reading electric meters on a one-meter route. Then she worked for the telephone company on a small front room switchboard from 1946 to 1951, serving the local area as far as Mayhill. Until then the area had only a Forest Service telephone system, with only two or three telephone in the area. Messengers were sent out to notify persons of incoming calls. If the persons were located, they came to the telephone. They moved back to Tularosa in August 1951 when Walker went to work at Holloman Air Force Base during World War II.
Two sons were born to Orpha and Walker. The first, Robert Lee, was injured at birth and was physically helpless all his life. Their second son, Melvin Carroll, was killed in an automobile accident in 1973. He had one son, and the only grandchild of the Wingfields, Melvin Lee. Orpha was preceded in death by her parents, Ollie and Josie Miller, her husband, Walker Wingfield, her two sons, Robert and Melvin, two of her brothers, Buster and Oliver Miller, two sisters, Annie Adelia Miller Sport and Sylvia (Dutch) Miller Cockrum (at age 102). Her grandmother, Zone Lewis Miller Inman also lived 102 years. She had two cousins, Cordelia Lewis and Dick Lewis that lived past 101. She was privileged to grow up with her a long line of long living pioneer grandparents, great grandparents, and their families. Surviving Orpha is her grandson, Melvin Lee of Colorado and his wife, Barbara Wingfield. She has one brother, Don Miller of La Luz and his wife, Ernie-Lee. She has one sister, Josephine (Jo) Miller Ruffin of Oklahoma and her husband Bill Ruffin. She has two sister-in-laws, Wilma Miller and Joie Miller Dennis. Also surviving are numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, great-nieces and nephews and of course a whole new generation of great-great nieces and nephews!
The Wingfield family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Hamilton O'Dell Funeral Home to direct the arrangements.