Odis James Miller

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Odis James Miller

Odis James Miller or "Cuz Odis" of Alexandria, died Thursday, January 17th at the age of 93, born in Effie, the second of eight children of the late Murphy James "Lucky" and Melissia (DeSoto) Miller. Odis and his wife Ethel Juneau Miller were married for 72 years.

The Millers have three children, two surviving into adulthood. Bruce, is a 1969 graduate of Bolton; he is an official of the Diocese of Alexandria and a pastor at Sacred Heart, Pineville. Jennifer, is a 1980 graduate of Menard and is an engineer for Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas. She and her husband Bruce, have two children, Joseph, a senior at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, Maryland and Julie, a sophomore at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska. He is also survived by his sisters Eula McDuffie and Sylvia Lee Doherty and his brother Frankie E. Miller and his wife Pat. He has a host of nieces and nephews.

The couple, longtime owners and operators of United Electric and Magneto Service, Inc., has lived their entire married life in Alexandria.

The couple met and dated at Civilian Conservation Corps dances. Eventually, Mr. Miller obtained a job in the service department at United Service on Jackson Street where Mrs. Miller was already employed as a secretary and bookkeeper.

During WWII he served in Caserta, Italy in the U.S. Army/Air corps and was promoted to Master Sergeant (field grade) to orchestrate the motor pool there, the job he had done in civilian life.

Not long after the end of the war, the service department of United Service was closed. Mr. and Mrs. Miller along with Mr. Sam Faust moved to 10th Street and opened United Electric and Magneto Service. Then, in 1955 they retained the name and moved the business across the street where it grew and expanded.

Morning radio personality Bill Day christened Mr. Miller "Cuz Odis" because he seemed to be related to many of his customers or knew them extremely well. That moniker stuck. With the advent of I-49 the business was relocated to MacArthur Drive at Coliseum Boulevard. They retired at the ages of 74 and 76 when they no longer were "having Fun" running the business in 1996.

"Cuz Odis" was involved in the community. Among his interests and recognitions are: Charter member of Prompt Succor Church and charter member of the ushers; 1999 Salt and Light Award Diocese of Alexandria; Knight Commander with Star of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem; 3rd and 4th Degree Knights of Columbus; Serra Club; real estate investor; LA Small Business Retailers Assoc.; Alexandria/Pineville Chamber of Commerce; Founding Donor Cabrini Hospital; Boy Scouts of America: Silver Beaver Award, Ordeal Member of the Order of Arrow; Special Deputy of Rapides Parish Sheriff's Dept.; Peacekeepers Neighborhood Watch 1998-2000; Course work: LSUA, Louisiana Technical College.

In the last couple of years "Cuz Odis" was a personality in the assisted living facilities where he lived. Within the hour of his death he was still walking and then went to sleep with a smile and a wink at the nurse who tucked him in.

Only visitation will be Saturday, January 19, from 2:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at John Kramer & Son Funeral Home, Alexandria.

Friends and family are asked to gather at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church, Alexandria for the funeral Mass on Sunday, January 20, for 2:00 p.m. Interment will follow at Alexandria Memorial Gardens, under the direction of John Kramer & Son.


Published in The Town Talk on Jan. 19, 2013
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