T.O. (Talmage Oscar) Miller, 85, of Bryant was welcomed into Heaven on Tuesday, May 7, 2013, while in the presence of his family at the Heartland Rehab and Care Center in Benton.
He was born Feb. 2 1928, in Zion. He was a member of Oak Park Baptist Church in Little Rock.
He always said the most important single event in his life was when he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior at the age of 11. He devoted his life to loving and serving the Lord and caring for his family; he was loved by many because of his devotion to teaching and dedication to helping others succeed in singing or playing an instrument for worship services.
Anyone who knew T.O. Miller knew that he was an original â€“ his natural musical talents were unlimited, whether it was playing the piano, accordion, organ, or guitar or singing with his flawless first tenor voice. He played the piano and sang for the Venable Quartet in concerts for many years and on television (Channel 7) from 1957 to 1967; he accompanied several other quartets such as the Stamps Quartet., Oklahoma Sooners and McDonald Brothers in the 1950s; and he and his family sang in concerts with the Venable and Millers in the 1970s and more recently a trio know as Glory Bound.
He served as minister of music for Baptist churches in the Central Arkansas area for 52 years, including Holland Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Benton for 26 years; Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Benton; Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Morrilton; Bryant First Baptist Church; and Grace Baptist Church in Bryant. T.O. wrote the words and music to 50 gospel songs. Oil painting was a hobby he enjoyed.
He received a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Arkansas State Teacherâ€™s College (now University of Central Arkansas) in 1957 and a master's degree from UCA in 1967. While in college, he performed in several operas including some leading roles. Following college, he taught sixth grade at Bryant for several years before being employed by the state as part of the initial Operation Head Start. He retired from the VA Medical Center after 20 years as creative arts therapist and he formed/directed a patient band known as The Hill Toppers. He has served on the Arkansas Entertainment Hall of Fame Committee and was a member of the Southern Gospel Music Association.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Oscar and Geneva McElmurry Miller; his daughter, Kristi Miller; his brother, Delbert Miller; his sisters, Elsie Woods, Mildred Finley, Lillian Duren, Nobia Duren, Snodia Fudge, Eva Haley and Jewel Carpenter; and his father-in-law, Onis Barnett.
He is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Rachel Barnett Miller; a son, Marty Miller of Chicago; a daughter, Kim Miller Mashburn and husband Dennis, two grandchildren, Tyler Mashburn and Danielle Mashburn, all of Mabelvale; a sister, Lavada Phillips of Zion; his mother-in-law, Louise Palmer of Monticello; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, May 10, at Oak Park Baptist Church in Little Rock with the Rev. Boyce Gail Johnson and the Rev. Carl Richey officiating.
Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. prior to the memorial service
Arrangements are by Dial & Dudley Funeral Home of Bryant.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Oak Park Baptist Church, 8200 Flintridge Road, Little Rock, AR or to Alzheimerâ€™s Arkansas, 201 Markham Center Drive, Little Rock, AR 72205.
Online guestbook: www.dialandudleyfuneralhome.com.
Family comments: A special thanks is extended to Heartland Rehab & Care Center for their loving care during this difficult time, especially the entire staff on Hall 3. Also, thanks to Saline Memorial Hospice.