Grandfather remembers his grandfather, James F. Miller, a man respected and honored as the family’s patriarch.
He sired eight children, one of whom died in infancy; a common occurrence which was accepted stoically, in those days.
Grandfather says Mr. Miller was his mentor. Mr. Miller confided in Grandfather how he had courted his wife, promising her father, brothers and uncle that he would take good care of her, which Grandfather can attest he did.
She was 16.
Mr. Miller worked with Henry Ford from the earliest days of what became the Ford Motor Company. Mr. Miller was a foundryman, and together they built the foundry which produced the cast iron parts for the Model T.
Grandfather remembers Mr. Miller telling him about sitting on a street curb with Mr. Ford, wondering at their good fortune as their enterprise prospered.
Later, Mr. Miller broke with Mr. Ford and went to work for William Durant as he built General Motors Corp. by acquiring and integrating several early independent motor car companies. Mr Miller built and managed the Chevrolet Grey Iron foundry in Saginaw, Michigan, for many years.
As he approached GM’s mandatory retirement age 70 — a policy Mr . Miller found incomprehensible — his gray iron foundry was producing the engine blocks for the Allison engine which powered early models of the P-51 Mustang fighter plane during World War II.
Mr. Miller died in 1982, age 99.
About the Author: RD Blakeslee is an octogenarian from West Virginia who built his net worth by only investing in that which can be enjoyed during acquisition and throughout life, as opposed to papers in a drawer, like stocks and bonds. You can read more about him here.
Photos: Courtesy of the Blakeslee Family