Earl James Miles, March 23, 1918 — Jan. 1, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 | 6:19 p.m. CST; updated 6:24 p.m. CST, Wednesday, January 9, 2013

COLUMBIA —Earl James Miles of Columbia died Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. He was 94.

Mr. Miles was born on March 23, 1918, in Bunceton to William "Dee" and Lemmie Crump Miles. 

He was the ninth of 13th children.

He married Clara Susan Gray in Columbia on April 14, 1940.

He attended Dunbar High School in Bunceton. Mr. Miles enlisted in the Civilian Conservation Corps at 18, where he worked as an assistant foreman to construct the Washington State Park in southeast Missouri. He was discharged in 1939 and moved to Columbia to work as a chef at the Wigwam Restaurant, Boone County Hospital and the Holiday Inn.

He and his wife were active members of Log Providence Baptist Church, where they were involved in the church’s food pantry and “The Lord’s Kitchen,” which they funded.  Mr. Miles was the senior deacon, a junior layman counselor and a member of the Brotherhood Choir. He also taught Sunday School. At the church, Mr. Miles was known as "grandpa."

Mr. Miles also was active in the development and construction of Miles Manor, the first subdivision in Columbia to focus on African American home ownership.

He is survived by two daughters, Beverly Jean Collins and her husband, Remie Chikasu, of Victorville, Calif., and Wanda Sue Ballenger and her husband, Whitman Maurcie, of Harbor City, Calif.; six grandchildren, Sherry Collins, Sheila Tippen, Alonzo Ballenger, John Collins, Shelly Williams and Whitman Earl Ballenger; 11 great-grandchildren; 15 great-great grandchildren; a sister-in-law, Corrine Miles; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

His wife, Clara, died in 2004.

Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Millard Family Funeral Home, 12 E. Ash St. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, 702 Banks Ave., with the Rev. Roderick Williams Sr. officiating.

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