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Lester Miner
(1908-1981)

See Fallingwater Today, Images of Bear Run, 2004 reunion and our booklet, Fallingwater: A Long Family Affair

 

Lester and Mildred

Lester Miner was born on April 7, 1908 in Mill Run, Fayette County, PA, the son of William Henry "Squire" and Sara Jane (Basinger) Minerd. Juliann Hiltabidel served as a midwife, assisting in the birth.

He and his wife were longtime employees of Fallingwater®, the house over a waterfall designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that is considered America’s “most famous modern house.”

On April 20, 1936, at the age of 31, Lester married a distant cousin, 16-year-old Mildred Anderson (1920-1994), the daughter of James "Nelson" and Jenny (Rowan) Anderson, and a native of Mill Run.

Mildred was the granddaughter of George E. and Alphea (Prinkey) Rowan and the great-granddaughter of Jonas and Julia (Williams) Rowan, all of the Mill Run area.

 

Lester

The Miners produced a family of seven children – Mildred "Beryl" Cumberland, Ronald Lester Miner Sr., Esther "Gail" Mowry, Gladys Louise Shepler, Barbara Jean Shawley, Gary Dwayne Miner and Marcy Ann Witt.

Lester was employed at Fallingwater in the mid-1950s, the world-famous house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built over a waterfall near Bear Run. His brothers Frank and Ralph also labored at Fallingwater for many years. Lester's boss, George Green, had responsibility for managing the grounds around the house, greenhouse, gardens, trees and landscaping.Lester often supervised the crew when Green was absent. 

Papers in the Fallingwater archives cite his work activity as follows:

  • “Miner’s men had just completed several new glass sashes and repaired several old ones for Mr. Green’s boxes.  Also … four large oak containers made by Miner’s men for Mr. Green to plant small evergreens in for the big house.” (Nov. 6, 1956).
  • “Lester Miner worked an extra day (Sunday) during the past pay period – this was due to Mr. Green’s illness and Mr. Miner came and watered the greenhouse plants and looked after things.” (June 5, 1958).
  • “Lester Miner will work 7 days a week – coming on Sundays to regulate the heat of the green house, according to the temperature and to water the greenhouse plants.” (Aug. 19, 1958).

 

Front, L-R: Gladys Shepler, Gail Mowry, (?), Marcy Witt. Back, L-R: Ronald Miner, Lester and Mildred Miner, Gary Miner and Beryl Cumberland.

 

 

Lester at work at Fallingwater

Over the years, the family attended the annual Anderson Reunion held at Trent Park. Their daughter Beryl was tapped to head the sports committee of the event circa 1954.

Lester is seen here raking leaves at Fallingwater, at a date unknown.

 

1970 book

He passed away at the age of 73 on May 8, 1981, and is buried at the Indian Creek Baptist Church Cemetery near Mill Run.

 

After Lester’s death, Mildred began working at Fallingwater’s Child Care Center. She spent a decade directing the Center, and retired at the end of 1991. Their daughter Gail and granddaughter Candi have worked in the Center – the third generation of service caring for the children of Fallingwater’s visitors.

 

Mildred died at age 73 on April 25, 1994, at the Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville, a suburb of Pittsburgh. She was laid to rest beside her husband. At the time of her death, she had 20 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Lester and Mildred both are mentioned in the 1970 book, A History of Mill Run.

In July 2004, Lester and Mildred were honored at our national family reunion -- "Fallingwater: A Long Family Affair" -- for their work at the landmark house, and Mildred was mentioned in a related Associated Press story headlined "A Matter of Tradition: Family Celebrates Connection to Historic Fallingwater." The AP article appeared in news outlets statewide, among them the Harrisburg Patriot-News, Beaver County Times, Uniontown Herald-Standard, Connellsville Daily Courier, Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, Waynesboro Record-Herald and Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader.

 

Indian Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, Mill Run

 

~ Daughter Mildred "Beryl" (Miner) Cumberland ~

Daughter Mildred "Beryl" Miner (1936-2019) was born on Dec. 20, 1936 in Mill Run.

Interested in athletics, and having grown up attending the annual Anderson family reunion, she was tapped in July 1954 to organize the sports committee of that year's event, held at Trent Park.

On March 26, 1955, when she was age 19 and he 21, Beryl and U.S. Air Force member Harold Donald Cumberland Sr. (1933- ? ) eloped to Cumberland, Allegany County, MD. The nuptials were held at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, with Beryl's uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Anderson, serving as attendants. News of the wedding was published in the Connellsville Daily Courier. Their union endured for 64 years.

Donald was the son of Elizabeth Cumberland of Dickerson Run, Fayette County. At the time of his marriage, Donald was serving in the U.S. Air Force in Japan, stationed at Yokahoma. Circa 1957, at the birth of their eldest child, the Cumberlands were still in Japan.

The couple produced three children -- Helena "Denise" Frashier, Harold Donald "Don" Cumberland Jr. and Michele Beth Dotson Toops.

After Donald's military service was completed, he returned home. The family relocated to Columbus, Franklin County, OH and lived there for decades. They were members of Gethsemane Lutheran Church

In her final years, Beryl contracted Alzheimer's Disease which slowly took away her life. At the age of 82, she passed away in Columbus on June 3, 2019. Her obituary asked that any memorial donations be made to the Central Ohio Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. Rev. Roger Dempsey officiated at the funeral service, followed by interment in Blendon Central Cemetery.

Daughter Helena "Denise" Cumberland ( ? -living) wedded Michael Frashier ( ? -living). They are the parents of David Frashier, Daniel Frashier, Natasha Griffith, Andrew Frashier and Matthew Frashier.

  • Grandson David Frashier was united in matrimony with Jeannette.
  • Grandson Daniel Frashier was joined in wedlock with Samantha.
  • Granddaughter Natasha Frashier wedded John Griffith.
  • GrandsonAndrew Frashier married Jenn.
  • Grandson Matthew Frashier

Son Harold Donald "Don" Cumberland Jr. ( ? -living)

Daughter Michele Beth Cumberland ( ? -living) was married twice. Her first spouse was (?) Dotson ( ? - ? ). Her second husband was Timothy Toops ( ? -living).

 

~ Son Ronald Lester Miner Sr. ~

Son Ronald Lester Miner Sr. (1939-living) was born in 1939 in Mill Run.

 

Campaign poster

He married Betty Jean King ( ? -living), the daughter of Ray Samuel and Winona Deane (Friend) King of Ohiopyle, Fayette County.

They had two sons -- Ronald Lester Miner Jr. and Ross Henry Miner.

As a young man, Ronald was employed by the Albert L. Herman Lumber Company. He avoided near tragedy on Dec. 8, 1959, at the age of 20, when the saw he was using at work cut him badly on the right forearm, and he was treated at Connellsville State Hospital. Said the 1975 paperback book, Brooks Family History, Ronald later worked as head sawyer for Albert Herman Jr. Lumber Company.

Betty was active with the annual Roy Friend  and Harry King family reunions. In July 1974, she was in charge of sports and prizes at the Friend event, while the same month, Ronald was elected treasurer of the King gathering held at the Indian Creek Valley Community Center.

Son Ronald Lester Miner Jr. (1959-living) was born in May 1959. When he reached his 11th birthday, he was pictured with his brother in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Son Ross Henry Miner (1966-living) was born in May 1966. On his fourth birthday, he was pictured with his brother in the Daily Courier. Ross resides in the Mill Run area and has served as Supervisor of Springfield Township during the 2000s.

 

~ Daughter Esther "Gail" (Miner) Mowry ~

Daughter Esther "Gail" Miner (1943-2008) was born on June 1, 1943 in Mill Run.

On Sept. 22, 1962, at the age of 19, she was united in holy wedlock with 22-year-old Larry Nelson Mowry (1940- ? ) of White, Fayette County.

The couple produced four children -- Lucinda Gail Steyer, Sandra Lynn Mowry, Larry Nelson Mowry Jr. and Candi Sue Mowry.

Following in her mother's footsteps, Gail and her daughter Candi worked in the Child Care Center at Fallingwater – the third generation of service caring for the offspring of Fallingwater’s visitors. Gail's career there spanned 23 years. They also were longtime members of the Indian Creek Baptist Church.

Sadly, Gail passed away at home in Mill Run at the age of 64 on March 29, 2008. Rev. John Davis preached the funeral sermon, followed by interment in the church cemetery. An obituary was printed in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Daughter Lucinda Gail Mowry married Gerald Steyer and made their home in Mill Run.

Daughter Sandra Lynn Mowry dwelled in Mill Run.

Son Larry Nelson Mowry Jr. was wedded to Robin. They have resided in Mill Run.

Daughter Candi Sue Mowry makes her residence in Mill Run.

 

~ Daughter Gladys Louise (Miner) Shepler ~

Daughter Gladys Louise Miner (1945-living) was born in 1945 in Mill Run.

On May 2, 1964, at the age of 19, Gladys was joined in marriage with David Brian Shepler Jr. (1945- ? ), son of David B. and Laura Mae (Solomon) Shepler Sr.

Their four offspring were Lori Ann Shepler, Teresa Lynn Richter, David Brian Shepler III and Kelly Renee Shepler.

Circa 1976-2008, they made their home in Champion, Fayette County.

Daughter Lori Ann Shepler

Daughter Teresa Lynn Shelper married (?) Richter.

Son David Brian Shepler III

Daughter Kelly Renee Shepler

 

~ Daughter Barbara Jean (Miner) Shawley ~

Daughter Barbara Jean Miner (1947- ? ) was born in 1947 in Mill Run.

When she was age 17, on July 11, 1964, she wed William Leroy "Bill" Shawley (1945- ? ) of Champion, Fayette County.

The Shawleys made their home in Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County, PA.

The children born to this marriage were Kevin Leroy Shawley, Anthony Todd Shawley and Tami L. Shawley.

Later, they moved to Champion, Fayette County.

 

~ Son Gary Dwayne Miner Sr. ~

Son Gary Dwayne (or "Duane") Miner Sr. (1955- ? ) was born in 1955 in Connellsville.

He was wedded to Nancy Lee Cramer (1954- ? ) on Oct. 11, 1974.

They went on to produce two children -- Gary Dwayne Miner Jr. and Christie Lee Miner.

Circa 2008, they made their home in Champion, Fayette County.

Son Gary Dwayne Miner Jr.

Daughter Christie Lee Miner

 

~ Daughter Marcy Ann (Miner) Witt ~

Daughter Marcy Ann Miner (1962- ? ) was born in 1962 in Connellsville.

At the age of 19, Marcy married Brian Witt (1960- ? ) of Connellsville. Their wedding took place in Dec. 5, 1981 in Indian Creek Baptist Church in Mill Run.

Their children are Sarah Marie Witt, Morgan Ann Witt and Brian Witt Jr.

In 2008, their home was in Woodale, Fayette County.

The family made news in 2012 when son Brian and his Scout troop helped to erect a monument honoring his great-great-great-great grandfather, Samuel Johnson, a Civil War veteran and Battle of Antietam survivor who was Connellsville's only Congressional Medal of Honor winner.

Daughter Sarah Marie Witt

Daughter Morgan Ann Witt 

Son Brian Witt Jr.

 

Copyright © 2004-2005, 2009, 2017 Mark A. Miner