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 designed over by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Kaufmann department store family of Pittsburgh that is widely considered America’s “most famous modern house.”
Tragedy visited the 27-year-old Lester during the evening hours of July 31, 1935. While driving his father's automobile along Route 381 near Mill Run, he accidentally struck and killed a 14-year-old local girl, Millicent Prinkey. He faced legal charges but both he and his father were exonerated, reported the Connellsville Daily Courier.
On April 20, 1936, at the age of 28, Lester married a distant step-cousin, 16-year-old Mildred Anderson (July 17, 1920-1994), the daughter of James "Nelson" and Jenny (Rowan) Anderson, and a native of Mill Run. The couple eloped across the state line to tie the knot in nearby Morgantown, Monongalia County, WV. Rev. Joseph C. Hoffman, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, officiated at the wedding. In filling out their marriage license application, Mildred fibbed on her age, stating that she was 21.
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.
During the 1940s, Lester was self-employed, operating a dairy cattle farm in Mill Run. He and his cousin-by-marriage Graydon Work served as community chairmen in an Agriculture Extension Office program to manage six-year tuberculosis tests in their livestock.
He registered for the military draft during World War II, at the age of 32, but was not selected to serve.
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:
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.
The family grieved in February 1960 at the passing of Mildred's father in Mill Run at the age of 68. Her mother lived for another 16 years and was gathered in by the Angel of Death at the age of 82 in October 1976.
Mildred was active with the Mill Run Baptist Church and in May 1967 helped to co-chair the annual mother-daughter covered-dish dinner. She was mentioned in a related story in the gossip columns of the Daily Courier.
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 to support herself by working at Fallingwater’s Child Care Center. She spent a decade directing the Center, and retired at the age of 71 at the end of 1991. Their daughter Gail and granddaughter Candi also 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 among many in the family to be honored at our national family reunion -- on the theme of "Fallingwater: A Long Family Affair" -- for their work at the landmark house. 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.
~ Daughter Mildred "Beryl" (Miner) Cumberland ~
Daughter Mildred "Beryl" Miner (1936-2019) was born on Dec. 20, 1936 in Mill Run. When she was 12 years of age, she was baptized on April 6, 1949 at the Indian Creek Baptist Church.
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 J. 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.
While stationed at Yokota Air Base in Japan, Donald specialized in marksmanship and was an instructor for the 347th Combat Support Group. Circa 1959, he was based at Griffis Air Force Base in Rome, NY and in 1963 at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL. 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 (1957-living) was born in 1957 in Japan. After returning to the United States as a toddler, her baptism took place on Oct. 11, 1959 at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Rome, NY. On Oct. 11, 1980, she wedded Michael Warren Frashier (1954-living). They are the parents of David Michael Frashier, Daniel Paul Frashier, Andrew Joseph Frashier and Matthew Jacob Frashier. In the 1990s, Michael was employed as a technical services representative with ALB Klein Company, Inc. in Worthington, OH.
Son Harold Donald "Don" Cumberland Jr. (1959-living) was born in 1959 at Griffis Air Force Base in Rome, NY. He was baptized in infancy in St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Rome. Trained as a licensed mechanic, he was employed as a foreman at the Mid-Ohio Machine Shop in Hilliard, OH. On Sept. 9, 1978, he was joined in wedlock with Kim Denise Strom (1958- ? ). Their three children were Joshua John Cumberland, Amanda Denise Cumberland and Zachery Phillip Cumberland.
Daughter Michele Beth Cumberland (1963-living) was born in 1963 at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL. In infancy, she was baptized in the Lutheran Church of Epiphany in Montgomery, AL. She has been married twice. Her first spouse, whom she wed on Oct. 11, 1988, was Michael Lee Dotson ( ? - ? ). The couple bore a daughter, Natasha Lee Griffith. 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.
On Aug. 16, 1958, 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. When he was 28 years of age, on Feb. 6, 1988, he was joined in holy matrimony with Tammy Burkholder (1963- ? ), a native of Connellsville. The couple's two children are Amber Miner and Austin Ronald Miner.
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. On Oct. 25, 1996, he was united in wedlock with Kelly Kern ( ? - ? ). They are the parents of Nathan Miner and Nolan Miner.
~ 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 daughters Lucinda Gail and Candi have worked 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 (1963- ? ) was born in 1963. On Aug. 24, 1991, she married Gerald Allen Steyer (1968- ? ). They bore one known son, Gerald Steyer. The family has made a home in Mill Run. Lucinda at one time was employed as a reservations secretary at Fallingwater, while Gerald worked in maintenance at the property.
Daughter Sandra Lynn Mowry (1964- ? ) was born in 1964. She has dwelled in Mill Run.
Son Larry Nelson Mowry Jr. (1967- ? ) was born in 1967 in Connellsville. On June 16, 1990, he was wedded to Robin Michelle Prinkey (1968- ? ) in nuptials held at the Indian Creek Baptist Church in Mill Run. They have resided in Mill Run and are the parents of Levi Mowry. Larry has operated heavy equipment for Commercial Stone Company of Connellsville, while Robin has sereved as a physical therapy aide at Highlands Hospital.
Daughter Candi Sue Mowry (1969- ? ) was born in 1969. She makes her residence in Mill Run. She has aided her mother in working at Fallingwater's Child Care Center.
~ Daughter Gladys Louise (Miner) Shepler ~
Daughter Gladys Louise Miner (1945-living) was born on May 11, 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 1974-2008, they made their home in Champion, Fayette County.
Daughter Lori Ann Shepler (1965- ? ) was born in about 1965. She has been employed as a manager at Roaring Run Resort in Champion, Fayette County.
Daughter Teresa Lynn Shepler (1968- ? ) was born in 1968. On Nov. 15, 1986, she married a distant cousin, Rodney Lester Richter (1967- ? ), son of Clarence L. "Abe" and Bertha Richter of the family of Neri and Hannah "Lucy" (Murray) Eicher of Normalville. The Richters have dwelled in Champion, Fayette County and are the parents of two known children, Melissa Lynn Richter and Rodney Lester Richter Jr.
Son David Brian Shepler III (1973- ? ) was born in 1973. At his first birthday, he was pictured in the Connellsville Daily Courier.
Daughter Kelly Renee Shepler (1976- ? ) was born in 1976. She was pictured in the Daily Courier on her first birthday.
~ Daughter Barbara Jean (Miner) Shawley ~
Daughter Barbara Jean Miner (1947- ? ) was born on Christmas Eve 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 initially made their home in Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County, PA.
The children born to this marriage were Kevin Leroy Shawley, Anthony Todd Shawley Sr. and Tami L. Shawley.
Later, they moved to Champion, Fayette County.
Son Kevin Leroy Shawley (1967- ? ) was born in 1967 in Connellsville.
Son Anthony Todd Shawley Sr. (1970- ? ) was born in 1970 in Connellsville. At the age of 20, on June 23, 1990, he was united in the bonds of marriage with Chastity Elizabeth Barnette (1971- ? ). The couple produced two known children, Anthony Todd Shawley Jr. and Austin Shawley. Anthony Sr. has earned a living as a roof bolter for Commercial Stone Company of Connellsville, while Chastity at one time owned Chas's Crafts of Indian Head.
Daughter Tami L. Shawley (1975- ? ) was born in 1975 in Mount Pleasant, PA. She has worked at Connellsville Hospital as a nurse's aide.
~ 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. (1977- ? ) was born in 1977 in Mount Pleasant, PA.
Daughter Christie Lee Miner (1978- ? ) was born in 1978 in Mount Pleasant, PA.
~ 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.
Marcy once was a teacher's aide at Dunbar Township School District. Brian has earned a living as a service technician for Davies Ford dealership in Connellsville. 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 (1982- ? ) was born in 1982 in Mount Pleasant, PA, a twin with her sister Morgan.
Daughter Morgan Ann Witt (1982- ? ) was born in 1982 in Mount Pleasant, PA, a twin with her sister Sarah Marie.
Son Brian Witt Jr. ( ? - ? ).
Copyright © 2004-2005, 2009, 2017, 2020 Mark A. Miner