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Every day is a blessing to Ira Miller


Ira Miller is a busy man at Cortland Acres, and at age 105, that’s how he likes it.

“If I don’t have something to do, I’ll get old,” said Miller. It’s also a phrase he often repeats to his family and friends. Miller will turn 106 on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023.


Beth Clevenger, administrator at Cortland Acres, invites community members to send birthday cards of cheer and well wishes to Miller.


“We rarely get to mark a milestone such as this and celebrate a resident turning 106 at Cortland Acres,” Clevenger said. “Throughout his life, Ira has touched countless individuals, families, and organizations in Tucker County and internationally. He is such an inspiration to the staff and other residents at Cortland Acres. He is a goal-setter and an achiever, and it’s important to recognize and honor Ira on his special day.”


People can mail cards to Attn: Ira Miller, Cortland Acres, 39 Cortland Acres Lane, Thomas, WV 26292.


Staying busy is a lifestyle Miller followed when he lived at home. Luckily, he can continue to practice a habit, as Cortland Acres offers plenty of daily activities for its residents.

On the first of each month, the Cortland Acres Activities Director Marie Grafton publishes a monthly calendar full of daily happenings along with a monthly theme dinner. Miller reviews the calendar carefully each month, highlighting the days and locations of one of his favorite activities, bingo.


“Ira never misses a bingo game,” said his niece, Marlene Lucente, with a smile.

When he isn’t playing bingo and tallying his winnings, Miller enjoys visiting with friends or members of his extended family. He is also pursuing a new hobby, Diamond Dot painting.


“Right now, I’m making a picture of a jersey cow for my granddaughter,” Miller said. “Helen Roth (a Cortland Acres resident) taught me the art and checks in on my progress almost every week.”


Miller lived at his farmhouse in Dry Fork until the summer of 2021, when an accident caused him to lose part of his leg.


“I have been mowing my yard, my son’s yard, my church’s yard, and the cemetery for years,” Miller said. “One day, I was in the orchard, and the mower went over the hill. I hollered for my son, who was in the house. Luckily he heard me, came out, and got help.”


After surgery and a stay at an inpatient rehabilitation center, Miller arrived at Cortland Acres in September 2021. Now, he rolls around the Cortland Acres with minimal help, visiting fellow resident friends and enjoying the activities.


Miller credits God for him surviving the accident and living a long life. “God’s been good to me my entire life,” he said, noting that his mother lived until she was 104 years old.

Miller has always been inspired to give back whenever possible. Besides bingo, one of Miller’s favorite activities is packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.


Since turning 100, Miller has packed over 1,543 boxes. He often packs the shoeboxes with the help of his daughter, Debbie Welch of Oakland, Md. Welch serves as Operation Christmas Child’s area coordinator for West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle and has traveled overseas with the program distributing the boxes.


Miller started packing shoeboxes with his church, where the congregation filled 40 each year. He felt it was important because the shoeboxes could go to places that missionaries could not.


Miller was born on Jan. 28, 1917, in Yoder, Kansas, and grew up with 12 brothers and sisters. His family moved to Indiana when he was young and later to Delaware before coming to West Virginia.


Miller has lived in Tucker County for more than 65 years. He has seven children, 17 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. He was married to Mary Olive for 56 years before she passed away ten years ago.


In his lifetime, Miller has been a farmer, a school bus driver, a mail carrier, a carpenter, and also did masonry work. Recently, he served as the grand marshal in the Thomas Mountaineer Days Parade.


Miller was raised Amish and fondly recalled farming with horses. “It was very economical but hard work,” he said. “We were always healthy and strong.”


He laughed as he recalled the day his father purchased his first car and took the family for a ride. “My mother told dad that you can’t go over 20 mph; if you do, blood will come out of your nose,” he said.


A couple of times a month, Miller’s family takes him home so he can spend a few days at the farmhouse in Dry Fork. He is looking forward to returning and spending time with his family over the holidays.


The Cortland Acres campus includes a 94-bed long-term care facility, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs, rental apartments in Pineview and garden and patio homes in The Pines. For more information or to set up an appointment for a tour of the facility, call 304-463-4181 or visit www.cortlandacres.org.

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