Clarence Miller
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Clarence Horatius Miller (1922 - 1992)

Clarence Horatius [uncertain] "Big" Miller
Born in Sioux City, Woodbury, Iowa, United States of Americamap
Ancestors ancestors
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Edmonton, Alberta, Canadamap
Profile last modified | Created 6 Feb 2020
This page has been accessed 141 times.


Contents

Biography

Flag of US
Clarence Miller migrated from US to Canada.
Flag of Canada

Clarence Horatius Miller was a Canadian blues and jazz musician from Edmonton, Alberta. He was raised in Kansas and became a trombonist and singer there, in the tradition of the Kansas City blues shouters – able to sing without amplification over a big band.[1] Standing 6’3” and over 350 lb, he was called Big Miller. Big Miller toured with Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Jay McShann among others, eventually touring western Canada. He ended up in Edmonton and chose to settle there in 1970, working on the Tommy Banks Show. In 1973 he became a Canadian citizen. His contributions to Edmonton and Alberta culture were immense, helping develop a music program at the Banff Centre for Fine Arts and at Grant MacEwan Community College[2]. He also worked for the Alberta Government teaching music to First Nations students throughout the province. Big Miller also helped start the Edmonton Jazz City Festival. He called himself “Edmonton’s only Black Ukrainian”[3] and was an integral part of Edmonton’s arts community. In 1979, Big Miller and Tommy Banks became the first Edmontonians to win a Juno for their live recording of a performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival.[4] Big Miller also did some acting, appearing in a couple feature films and being featured in a National Film Board documentary. He received an honorary degree from Athabasca University in 1985, alongside Northrop Frye, Lois Hole, and Ernest Manning. After his death, Big Miller was honoured with a bust and an Edmonton park named Big Miller Park.

Clarence was born to James Miller and Nora (Epperson) Miller on December 18, 1922 in Sioux City, Iowa. His birth certificate initially listed his name as Horatio Miller[5], but was amended June 15, 1942 to read Clarence Henry Miller.[6] Shortly after his birth, his father died, and at some point before 1925 he and his mother had moved to El Dorado, Kansas where his mother's family lived.[7][8][9]Playing football in high school at 6' 31/2" tall and more than 250 lb. he earned the nickname, "Big."[10] In July, 1942 Clarence was living with his mother at 610 N. Washington St., Eldorado and working at the El Dorado Hotel.[11]

Obituary

June 13, 1992 Edmonton Journal

Miller, Clarence, Horatio "Big" On June 9, 1992 Clarence Horatio "Big" Miller of Edmonton, Alberta passed away suddenly at the age of 69.

"Big" Miller was born in Sioux City, Iowa on December 18, 1922. He began his singing in local church choirs in Kansas City, Kansas and studied the piano and the trombone as a youth at St. John's School for Boys in Leavenworth, Kansas. "Big" had a musical career that spanned more than 50 years. He sang popular songs, gospels, ballads, and blues and jazz with big bands, small groups, choirs, orchestras and "a cappella". He worked with many jazz and blues legends including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Budd Johnson, Shelly Mann, and Nat Pierce. "Big" Miller was a songwriter, a storyteller, and actor and an educator who devoted much of the last 20 years of his life bringing the joys of music to children and young people in his travels throughout Alberta and across Canada.

He leaves to mourn his loss his loving companion, Lilian Zubritsky and her family, all of Edmonton; Bertha Smith, Vivian Harris and their families of Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg; loving and caring long-time friends Eric and Irene McClelland of Richmond, B.C. and Rick McClelland-Mann of Richmond, B.C. He also leaves an aunt Georgie Turner of South Coffyville, Oklahoma, and cousins R.V. Epperson and Betty Paiges of South Coffyville, Oklahoma and Leona Williams of Los Angeles, California and all his extended family and friends around the world.

A public memorial service will be held on Friday, June 19 at 2:00 pm at Robertson-Wesley United Church, 10209 123 Street, Edmonton, Alberta. Donations, in lieu of flowers, will be accepted to the "Big" Miller Memorial Scholarship Fund. 432-7166[12]

Notes

Middle name could be Henry or Horatio.

Sources

  1. Chadbourne, Eugene. “Big Miller: Artist Biography”, AllMusic, available from https://www.allmusic.com/artist/big-miller-mn0000069362/biography
  2. Provincial Archives of Alberta.PR2285. https://hermis.alberta.ca/paa/Details.aspx?ObjectID=PR2285&dv=True&deptID=1
  3. Schweger Bell, Culley. personal recollection
  4. Zdeb, Chris, “June 9, 1992: Longtime Jazz Great Big Miller Dies of Heart Failure,” Edmonton Journal, 9 June 2015, available from http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/june-9-1992-longtime-jazz-great-big-miller-dies-of-heart-failure.
  5. "Iowa, County Births, 1880-1935," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XVNB-K38 : 10 March 2018), Horatio Miller, 18 Dec 1922; citing Woodbury, Iowa, United States; county district courts, Iowa; FHL microfilm 1,451,576.
  6. "Iowa, Birth Records, 1921-1942," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QP8J-RMF3 : 29 October 2019), Clarence Henry Miller, 18 Dec 1922; citing Birth, Sioux City, Woodbury, Iowa, United States, State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines.
  7. Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, Kansas; 1925 Kansas Territory Census; Roll: KS1925_14; Line: 25
  8. "United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X73V-9NB : accessed 10 February 2020), Clarence H Miller in household of Nora Miller, El Dorado, Butler, Kansas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 18, sheet 16B, line 66, family 404, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 695; FHL microfilm 2,340,430.
  9. "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VRVK-J8Y : 26 July 2019), Clarence Miller in household of Charles Elliott, Ward 3, El Dorado, El Dorado City, Butler, Kansas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 8-19, sheet 2B, line 58, family 43, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 1222.
  10. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1992-06-11-mn-86-story.html
  11. "Kansas, World War II Draft Registration Cards,1940-1945", database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QLG1-T6CK : 27 November 2019), null, 1942.
  12. "United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899-2012," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QG2W-N2HX : 30 August 2019), Clarence Horatio or Big Miller, ; citing Obituary, in ""; American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • "United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK44-YB2R : accessed 6 February 2020), Mr Clarence Or Big Miller, Illinois, United States, 10 Jun 1992; from "Recent Newspaper Obituaries (1977 - Today)," database, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : 2014); citing Chicago Tribune, born-digital text.
  • "United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899-2012," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QG2W-N2HX : 30 August 2019), Clarence Horatio or Big Miller, ; citing Obituary, in ""; American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • "United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKP4-8MHZ : accessed 6 February 2020), Clarence Or Big Miller, Florida, United States, 10 Jun 1992; from "Recent Newspaper Obituaries (1977 - Today)," database, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : 2014); citing Tampa Tribune, The, born-digital text.
  • "United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVRR-K2ZG : accessed 6 February 2020), Clarence Or Big Miller, Minnesota, United States, 10 Jun 1992; from "Recent Newspaper Obituaries (1977 - Today)," database, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : 2014); citing St. Paul Pioneer Press, born-digital text.
  • "United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKW3-M495 : accessed 5 March 2020), Clarence Or Big Miller, Texas, United States, 10 Jun 1992; from "Recent Newspaper Obituaries (1977 - Today)," database, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : 2014); citing Houston Chronicle, born-digital text.


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