50 years ago: Funeral of patriarch Niven Miller brings community together

In the March 22, 1967 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, news from North Side included:

“The funeral of Mr. Niven Wray Miller Snr. of North Side, was held in the Presbyterian Church at Old Man Bay on the 14th.

“Mr. Miller died in Jamaica and his mortal remains were brought home by his wife and eldest son, Doren, that day.

“The bearers were three of his sons, Doren (from Canada), Ray of George Town, and Coburn (from Freeport), two nephews, Trenvic and Kalmer, and Cardinal DaCosta, a family friend.

“The funeral service, which included the hymn ‘My Faith Looks Up to Thee’ sung at the request of his son Ned, was conducted by the Rev. John Lord, and the Rev. Ruth Bowman of the Pilgrim Holiness Church led in prayer.

“The obituary was read by the Rev. Lord as follows:

“‘Niven Wray Miller was born on the May 6 1896, the sixth son and eighth child of the late Mr. and Mrs. John Miller of North Side. He died in the University Hospital, Jamaica on March 9, 1967, aged 70 years.’

“‘In his early years, he spent a period at sea and also working on the construction of the Panama Canal. Later he spent some years with the Swanee Company. Most of his years at home were spent as a carpenter and farming. His last trip away was for six months on the M.V. Chemical Trader in 1966.’

“‘He married Erna Ebanks at the Manse in George Town on June 16, 1924, and from this union were born 10 children, one of whom, Margaret, died at the age of 4 months.’

“‘Before he passed away, he confessed that he had made things right with his God and we rest in the knowledge that through faith, we shall meet again someday.’

“Also read during the service was a tribute by his lifelong friend, Cudmore McCoy, who was born the same year and grew up with Niven, remaining closer than blood brothers until their parting.

“During the continuation of the service at the graveside, Rev. Dewey Johnson of the Chapel Church of God, led in prayer and one of the favourite hymns of the deceased, ‘Thou my Everlasting Portion’ was sung. The mortal remains were laid to rest in the family graveyard at Old Man Bay.”

In the same issue, North Side news also included:

“Rev. P.W. Thomas Jr. of the Pilgrim Holiness Church was on the island from the 1st to 5th of March.

“Mr. Thomas’s first two days in Grand Cayman were spent at North Side, now pastored by Rev. Ruth Bowman, and on Friday he was at West Bay where Rev. and Mrs. John Croft are the pastors.”

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