At age 92, Naomi Jean Miller Telford left this wonderful life on March 6, 2021. She was born on December 23, 1928, the 8th daughter of Elmer Miller and Zoa Ann Jackson Miller on the family farm near Goree, Knox County, Texas. She was raised on the family farm where all of the sisters, in the absence of any sons, were the farmhands who chopped cotton, milked cows, plowed fields, repaired the tractor and other farm machines, and took on any other chores that would keep the farm running. This kind of childhood instilled a sense of confidence, self-reliance, and sisterhood in her and her sisters that would be important to her for the rest of her life. As a young girl, she and her sisters lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s and rationing during WWII in the early 1940s by relying on the crops produced by the family farm.
After graduating from Goree High School in 1946, she was allowed to move to San Angelo to live with her oldest sister Iris and husband Clyde Baker. She found a job as a Dental Assistant. And, she met her future husband, John L. Telford, Jr., through a friend of the Baker family. In spite of the fact that he was a widower with a 6-year-old son, it was love at first sight and they were instant soul-mates. They were married in San Angelo on April 3, 1949. This marriage gave her what was missing in her life, the opportunity to travel and become independent.
From 1949 until 1960, she enjoyed traveling with her husband as he worked as a surveyor for an oil exploration “doodlebug” crew. While living in Abilene in the early 1950s, she attended McMurry State College, now McMurry University, to study music majoring in voice. While living in central Texas they liked to go camping and fishing with her favorite sister Zoa Nell and husband G.S. Cathey especially along the South Llano River. They liked to explore the seldom visited areas of large ranches looking for arrowheads and Texas agate, as well as explore many areas of the Big Bend National Park when the roads were still gravel. Of course, their ultimate camping and fishing experiences were in Wyoming, fly fishing for trout. When asked about this part of her life, she would say, “we had a blast.”
In 1960 they established and became part owners of “The Anchor”, a restaurant and marina on Lake Grapevine. This business survived for about 5 years and it was a rough learning experience for both of them. However, there was one bright spot from this period, her daughter, Patricia Anne (Trish) was born in Grapevine, TX in 1963.
In the mid-1960s they moved to Montgomery County, Texas so they could care for her husband’s elderly mother. They bought 3 acres and built their new home between Conroe and Cleveland on Highway 105 where they lived for many years. During this time her husband worked as a carpenter. They had another surprise at that time, her son, Matthew Allen was born in 1971.
But in the late 1980s the lure of travel was too much to resist. They sold their home, bought an RV and became full-time RVers for the next two decades. They returned to their favorite rocky mountain locations, explored most of the United States, and expanded into Canada. The bright spot of this period was the opportunity for their granddaughter, Amanda, to travel with them during the summers.
Jeanie is survived by step-son John L. Telford, III and wife Jacqueline of Kerrville; daughter Trish Telford Wilkinson and husband Charles “Ric” of Lumberton; son Matthew Telford and wife Tina of Pflugerville; granddaughter Amanda L. Dukes Gann and husband Les of Marble Falls; brother-in-law Jack Keith Telford of Cleveland; 1 grandson and 2 great-grandsons of Missouri; 1 granddaughter of Grapevine; numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, all seven of her sisters, and her husband John L. Telford, Jr.
The family wishes to extend their sincere gratitude to the wonderful caring people with Altus Hospice of Beaumont and Synergy HomeCare.
Funeral services provided by Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Cleveland. Burial will be at Ryan Cemetery.