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Orlan Lloyd Miner



Orlan and Helen

Orlan Lloyd Miner was born on Nov. 11, 1907 in Washington, Washington County, PA, the son of Harry O. and Armena V. (Cain) Miner.


Orlan, 1909

The photo of Orlan as a boy, seen here, was taken at Stewart's Studio in Washington circa 1909. When Orlan was nearing his 12th birthday, in July 1919, his father suffered a stroke and collapsed at a Sunday School picnic, and died later that night, leaving Orlan fatherless as he entered his teenage years.

As a young man, Orlan worked as a laborer at a tin mill in Washington to help provide income for his widowed mother and siblings.  It’s said that Orlan "fixed up" his mother with one of his co-workers at the mill, Benjamin Franklin Marshall, who also was the brother of Orlan's uncle by marriage, Edward Marshall (married to Eliza Cain). The match was a success, and Ben became Orlan's step-father.

At the age of 22, Orlan married 20-year-old Helen I. Proctor (1910-1965), daughter of George and Caroline "Carrie" (Reedy) Proctor of 818 Broad Street in Washington. The wedding, which took place on June 5, 1930, was officiated by Rev. Bernard Flinn. Because Helen was not yet age 21, her mother had to sign a consent form to allow the union to proceed. Their application for a marriage license remains on file today at the Washington County Courthouse.

Helen was employed at a local glass factory at the time of marriage, most likely the Hazel-Atlas Glass plant in Washington. Many other of the Miner family worked at Hazel Atlas over the years, including Orlan's father, uncle William Allen Miner, brother Odger Miner and cousins Golie C. Bedillion, Peyton W. Brookman and Earl Mattax


Orlan, left, and with older brother Odger (bowtie), circa 1908


The Miners went on to have three children: Marilyn Ruth Scofield, Helen "Louise" Ditch and Harold Orlan Miner.


Orlan & Helen, Washington, PA

While living in Washington, Orlan was a member of the Salvation Army Band, and attended the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church.  The family moved to Akron, Summit County, OH in the 1940s. 

The Miners remained in Akron for a few years but, with Helen suffering from a series of health issues, relocated again in 1948 to Southern California, where the climate and air quality were better. They settled in Monrovia, Los Angeles County. 


Orlan and Helen's home in Monrovia

Orlan's uncle William Allen Miner ("Uncle Will") resided near Monrovia for many years, in the towns of El Monte and Rosemead, and may have drawn Orlan and family to Southern California as he had was very familiar with the warm climate and quality of life the sleepy community provided. 

The Miners made their home in a simple ranch house at 534 West Colorado Boulevard in Monrovia. The town was nestled in the shadow of the San Gabriel Mountain range, and their residence was a short drive from the famed Huntington Library and Museum in San Marino. 

Orlan secured long-term employment in the community as a locksmith and custodian at the Monrovia High School. The building is noted locally as an attractive example of neo-Spanish architectural designs.

Every morning, Orlan was able to walk out the front door of his home, to a stunning view of the magnificent, looming mountains. The locale allowed him the convenience of walking just a few blocks to and from the high school nearby, in the shade of leafy oak and palm trees. He easily could have walked home for lunch if time permitted.

Monrovia High School, Orlan's longtime place of employment, and just down the street from his home



Orlan & Helen

While working at Monrovia High School, Orlan made the acquaintance of teacher Robert Culp. In an ironic twist of fate, neither man knew that he was distantly related to the other on the Miner side. (Robert's grandfather was Lewis Mortimer Culp of Roseville, Perry County, OH.)

Orlan and Helen were very devout Christians, and were members of the Nazarene Church in Monrovia. It was through this church that at least one of their daughters met her future husband. Orlan once penned a six-stanza poem reflecting his deep faith, entitled "My Heavenly Dream." The opening and closing stanzas of the poem are reproduced below.


Orlan with his new car, early 1960s

During the Korean War era of the early 1950s, the Miners often graciously entertained their nephew, Odger "Wayne" Miner, who was stationed at the Presidio of Monterey and would hitch-hike several hundred miles to their home on weekends. Wayne fondly remembered them driving him around the community to see the various sites. This included attending the Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Yea's Day 1952, and a tour of Yosemite National Park. It was during this small window of time that the family, especially daughters Marilyn and Louise, became close with this cousin from faraway Aliquippa, PA. In fact, when Louise was married in May 1952, she and her fiancé Carl Ditch asked Wayne to serve as their best man.

Orlan and Helen also hosted visits from Orlan's aged mother when she would come from Washington to see her family and brood of grandchildren. 


Orlan and his 83-year-old mother, 1960s

Orlan poses with a new automobile that he purchased, at right.

Helen died in Monrovia on March 21, 1965, at the age of 55. She was laid to rest at Live Oak Memorial Cemetery in Monrovia. Her obituary was published in her hometown newspaper, the Washington Reporter.

Heartbroken, the widowed Orlan returned to Pennsylvania later that year for a final visit with his elderly mother and sisters and brothers.

During that gathering, he snapped a number of color photographs which today are preserved in the Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor family archives. He must have handed off his camera at some point because one of the images (seen here) shows Orlan and his mother, age 83, posed in front of a blooming pink bush at the home of his brother Odger in Aliquippa, PA. 

Less than a year later, Orlan died in Monrovia of a heart attack, on Jan. 22, 1966, at the age of 59. At the time, he and Helen had produced six grandchildren. They rest for eternity in Live Oak Memorial Cemetery in Monrovia.



Above, left: Orlan on his daughter Louise's wedding day in May 1952; right: Helen, Louise, a friend and Marilyn at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, New Year's Day 1952.  Below: the family relaxes in their back yard in Monrovia, 1952. Photos by Odger "Wayne" Miner.

My Heavenly Dream

by Orlan Miner

I travelled to a distant land
   An angel holding to my hand
It seemed as tho' the skies unfurled
   And then I saw the gates of Pearl,
And then the Gates did open wide
   The angel and I went on inside;
And there I saw the Streets of gold
   And on them there were young and old;
So many friends of yesteryears...


Where’er you go you too must tell
   To reject Christ means doom in hell.
But then the angel said to me
   “Far deeper than the deepest sea
And higher than the heaven above
   For you, my friend, in Jesus’ Love.”


~ Daughter Marilyn Ruth (Miner) Scofield ~


Marilyn and Gary Scofield at Camp Del Rey near Ojai, Sept. 1991


Marilyn Scofield

Daughter Marilyn Ruth Miner (1936-2009) was born in 1936 in Washington, Washington County, PA. She moved to Ohio and thence to Southern California with her parents and siblings. 

In 1952, when her cousin Odger "Wayne" Miner was stationed at the Presidio of Monterey, and spent weekends visiting at her parents' home, Marilyn and Louise became close with this cousin, and remained good friends for the rest of their lives. They hosted visits from Wayne and his family in June 1978 and again in September 1991. Marilyn and Louise also came to Washington, PA for a Miner Reunion in the summer of 1975.

Marilyn married Garold Scofield in November 1954. They had three children -- Paula Schrock, Bryan Scofield and Sara Helbert -- and over the years made their home in Somis, Oakview and Ventura, CA.

News article, 1980s


Marilyn worked at a bank and later was a secretary to the procurator at St. John's Seminary in Camarillo. After the birth of their third child, she became employed as a teaching assistant at Pleasant Valley School District, working with special education children, and later taught in the Hueneme School District and Ojai School District.   

Gary taught elementary education at Somis, CA (1966-86) and Summit School, Ojai, CA (1986-2001). When he left teaching temporarily to join the engineering giant Fluor Corporation, Gary was featured in an article in the Camarillo News. During their years in Oak View, they were involved with development of Camp Del Rey, a Christian facility for youth, near Ojai. The Scofields relocated again upon their retirement in 2002 to Ventura, Ventura County, and joined the Ventura Baptist Church. 

During the Iraq War of the early 2000s, grandson-in-law Dustin Turner, a lance corporal with the US Marine Corps, was interviewed on ABC-TV's Nightline on Jan. 24, 2003 in a program entitled "Arming Saddam." 

Sadly, suffering from arthritis and cancer, Marilyn died at home at the age of 73 on Dec. 7, 2009. At the time of her passing, she and Gary had 10 grandchildren and five great- grandchildren. Her obituary in the Ventura County Star said that "Marilyn will be remembered as a generous and loving woman of God and will be missed." 

Read an essay by their daughter Paula (Scofield) Schrock entitled simply "My Legacy."


Circa 1992, Louise and Harold show a quilt made by their grandmother, Armena (Cain) Miner- Marshall. Click for a larger version on our "Online Quilt Museum."



Louise and Carl Ditch

~ Daughter Helen "Louise" (Miner) Ditch ~

Daughter Helen "Louise" Miner (1932-1993) was born in 1932 in Washington, Washington County, PA. 

She married Dr. Carl E. Ditch ( ? -2015), one of 10 children of Earl C. and Flora (Braeseker) Ditch of Iselin, PA. The wedding was held on May 3, 1952, in Monrovia. Louise's cousin from Pennsylvania, Odger "Wayne" Miner, who was stationed at the Presidio of Monterey at the time, served as best man. 

The Ditches had two children -- Timothy Ditch and Nancy Moody. 


Concert recital invitation

Carl served as a teacher or principal for 31 years at these California schools: Ballico Elementary; Washington School at Winton; Camarillo in the Pleasant Valley School District; Mound School at Ventura; Ventura Unified School District; Pierpont Elementary; Ventura Middle School; University of Santa Clara; and Ventura Missionary School.  He was a substitute teacher at Christian schools in Salem, OR. 

They enjoyed organ concerts of sacred Christian music performed by their son Tim. 

Interested in his own genealogy, Carl researched his ancient roots in Western Pennsylvania and in July 1983 authored a "Summary of Ditch Lineage," which is on file today at the Somerset (PA) Historical Center. 

Upon retirement, they lived in Salem, OR.

Sadly, Louise died at the age of 61, on April 27, 1993. She was laid to rest in Ivy Lawn Cemetery in Ventura.

Carl survived his wife by 22 years. After suffering a heart attack, he died in Portland, OR on May 16, 2015.


Marilyn (left) and Louise at a California "ghost town" attraction, New Year's Eve 1951. Note the hush puppies.



Harold O. Miner

~ Son Harold Orlan Miner ~

Son Harold Orlan Miner (1940-2001) was born on March 22, 1940 in Washington, Washington County, PA.

As a young boy, he moved with his parents to Akron, OH and thence to Monrovia, CA. As a young man, he attended Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa, ID and worked for J.C. Penney Co. in Monrovia.

When he was 19, Harold married Carol Anne Brown ( ? - ? ), daughter of Rev. Archie O. Brown of Havre, MT. Their nuptials were officiated by Carol'sfather of the First Church of the Nazarene in Havre. The couple was pictured in the Great Falls (MT) Tribune and Monrovia Daily News-Post, cutting their wedding cake, and the story reported that "the bride wore a floor length gown of white satin with lace bodice, net overskirt, scalloped neckline and long sleeves. heer finger-tip veil was held by a crown of seed pearls and she carried a bouquet of red roses on a white Bible."

Carol was a fellow student at Northwest Nazarene. The couple established their first home in Monrovia.

They bore two children -- Harold "James" Miner and Julie A. Gillespie Highsmith Greene. 

The couple divorced when the children were very young.

Harold lived in Camarillo, CA circa 1965, in or near Seattle in 1980, and in Cuyahoga Falls, OH in 1990. 

When Harold's cousin Odger "Wayne" Miner brought his wife and three sons to Southern California for a visit in July 1978, they had the opportunity to meet Harold's son and daughter for the very first time. Harold's sister Louise was instrumental in having the children connect with their Miner family.

In 1992, Harold was employed as a sales manager for Soprema Roofing & Waterproofing, Inc., in Vancouver, WA. 

He and his brother in law Carl Ditch came to our national reunion in July 1996, in Kingwood, Somerset County, PA. The reunion was held in a picnic grove just about a mile or two from the old farm where Harold's great-grandfather, Andrew Jackson Miner, was born in the 1840s.

Harold spent his final years living near or with his daughter Julie in Newport News, VA. He died there at the age of 61 on July 11, 2001. An obituary was printed in the Newport News Dily Press.

Former wife Carol married again to W. Jim White ( ? - ? ) of Puyallup, WA. She was deceased by 1990.

Son Harold "James" Miner ( ? -living) married Debbie. They reside in Gresham, OR. The children born to this union are Chrissy Miner Tilson and Justin Miner.

Daughter Julie A. Miner ( ? -living) was born in (?). She was first married to (?) Gillespie and made a residence in or around King of Prussia near Philadelphia, PA. There, she worked as a tournament coordinator for the Golf Association of Philadelphia. Then on Sept. 1, 1990, she married a second time to Kenneth "Ray" Highsmith Jr. ( ? -living). At the time, Ray was a manager with the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in King of Prussia. The wedding was held at the First United Church of Christ in Hampton, VA. They established a home in Newport News, VA and were the parents of Zachary Thomas Highsmith, James Highsmith, Krystle Highsmith and Brittney Highsmith. Later, after a divorce, she wedded Philip Greene ( ? -living). She has been employed by Head Start and in 2020 was named eastern regional manager for Child Care Aware of Virginia. Grief blanketed the family when son Zachary, age 27, died on March 6, 2020.

  • Son Zachary Thomas Highsmith (1992-2020) was born on April 24, in Richmond, VA and grew up in Newport News, VA. He liked to golf and ride his skateboard. He was the father of Reese Highsmith, Piper Highsmith and Tanner Highsmith. He was employed by Global Workforce Solutions in Chesapeake. Circa 2020, he made his home in Oceanview in Norfolk, VA. Sadly, he died at the age of 27 on March 6, 2020. Funeral services were held at Grace United Methodist Church.


Copyright © 2000-2001, 2003, 2005, 2009-2010, 2012, 2015, 2020 Mark A. Miner