Homer Alaska - Weddings & Engagements

Story last updated at 8:35 PM on Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ralph and Betty (Clendenen) Miller


Ralph and Betty (Clendenen) Miller

Ralph and Betty (Clendenen) Miller celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on June 17, 2011. There will be a celebration 2-5 p.m. on June 18 at Kachemak Community Center.

If you are unable to attend, we would be pleased to have you share any special memories or events you may have shared with Ralph or Betty by sending a card to P.O. Box 316, Homer, AK 99603.

For more information, call Sandy at 235-6325 or Cris at 399-1011.

After graduation in June 1950 from Lebanon Union High School in Oregon, Ralph completed his two-year course at Oregon Technical Institute, located in Klamath Falls, in heavy duty diesel mechanics. He then worked on and drove logging trucks in Oregon. Betty completed her cosmetology licensing in Klamath Falls and Eugene. They married in June 1951.

They moved their girls, Sandy Miller (Born March 21, 1953) and Cris Beachy (Born July 14, 1954) to Anchorage in April 1956, towing a house trailer over the primitive Alcan Highway. Betty's parents, Bill and Verna Clendenen, Betty's sister Shirley and her husband, Willie Chernoff were already in Anchorage. Her brother, Larry Clendenen and his wife, Inez, were already homesteading at Anchor Point. Ralph did various jobs operating heavy equipment, while Betty worked at the Anchorage Westward Hotel beauty salon. With the building of the Seward Highway into Homer from Anchorage, they decided to move down in January 1957. Betty opened the first full service salon in Homer: Artic House of Beauty. Ralph worked as a civilian at Ohlson Mountain Air Force Base operation heavy equipment. He kept the Ohlson Mountain road graded and plowed for many years, keeping it passable for base traffic and all the homesteaders.

In 1958, they purchased a home two miles out East Road, which would be the family home until 1978. It was a great luxury to the family, as we had been living in a 36-foot trailer house with a lean to for two years.

Ralph has done various jobs, such as commercial king crabbing for Erling Broderson on the F/V Violet Ray, construction for the Arndt brothers in the villages and on their barge, the Krystal Sea, working for the utilities departments of the cities of Homer and Omaha, Neb., and teaching welding at the community college in Ankeny, Iowa.

In 1959, Ralph and Betty made a commitment to the Lord with their lives and became involved with Grace Baptist Church in Homer, now Glacierview Baptist Church. They felt the call of the Lord to attend Omaha Baptist Bible College in Omaha, Neb. for 3 1/2 years, at which time the campus moved to Ankeny, Iowa in 1967. The name changed to Faith Baptist Bible College. Ralph was in the first graduating class of the new facility in June 1968. He majored in music and minored in bible. Betty was a part-time student and studied Christian education and many classes relating to children's programs in the church. They both wanted to be more educated to be used in church work. Ralph led worship music and special music programs. Betty was involved in children ministries and Sunday School classes for many years. Betty was often found in the kitchen for most social functions, also cooking for weeks on end at summer Bible camps. After Ralph's graduation in 1971, they returned to Homer with both girls in Homer High School. When both girls graduated in 1971, Ralph and Betty started spending on month and eventually the winters in Apache Junction and Gold Canyon, Ariz. They were in the process of selling the Homer businesses- Millers Welding and Steel Supply, Artic House of Beauty and Miller Mini Mall, which was built by Ralph (now the Mariner Mini Mall/Homer Jeans). While in Arizona they were involved in their church and the Rolls Royce Club. They shared their love of knowledge of their antique and ornamental hair comb collection, quite often, to many different audiences, which is part of the Miller Museum. As they traveled to many different countries and states, their collection grew quite large numbering up to as many as 3,500. Another major collection, respected by many formal museums. These collections have been on display for public viewing over the years. Ralph has also had a great interest in handguns, especially of the historic old west.

In the spring of 2008, they sold their home in Arizona moving back to live in Homer. This time of their life they decided to be closer to family and doctors. Sandy, their three grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren are all in Homer. "Grampa" is usually kept busy helping all of them with their vehicles or running them places. "Grammy" still cooks for them when she is up to it.

Ralph retired in 1988, owning Millers Welding since the early 1970s and Betty retired in 1985 from the hairdressing business. When returning to Homer each spring from Arizona, Ralph has worked at a variety of job's like Mark Airlines, drove trucks, operated the rock crusher and various other jobs for Dibble Creek Rock. He also worked for very dear friends at the Little Creek Gold Mine, near McGrath where Betty also helped with cooking for the crew. Betty has always been a great pie baker, loved to grow large vegetable gardens and beautiful flowers.

We as a family are so happy to celebrate our wonderful parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. They have truly been our example and anchor. Since they have traveled to visit so many friends, in so many parts of this country, they too have opened their home wherever they have been to reciprocate to so very many guests in return. Ralph and Betty want to share how we are all anxiously anticipating the return of out Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We pray that you all will be ready to meet Him.