A Eulogy to Milton Frederick
Milton Fredrick Haddox was the son of Emmet and Edith (Meissner) Haddox. He was born on the day of the Great Stock Market crash — October 19, 1929 — but that cataclysmic event was not a portent of his life to come. Rather, he was a gentle, loving man. He was quiet, soft-spoken, uncomplicated and direct. Milton did not have a façade: what you saw was Milton. He was transparent, unpretentious, always straightforward and forthright. His word was his bond; honesty was his code of honor. He cared deeply for his country and for his family.
He was born at White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles — the second born of four children. His family lived at Basset, California for the first ten years of Milton’s life, until 1939 when they moved to Klingerman Street in El Monte, California.
It was at El Monte High School that he met the future Mrs. Milton Haddox: Jeanne Roork. On July 19, 1948, Milton and Jeanne tied the matrimonial knot.
Milton was an unusual man in that he met life on his terms. He didn’t buy a house for his new family: he designed a house and built it with his own hands. It was a beautiful Baldwin Park home, a credit to the neighborhood. The home was impressive. It had hardwood floors and a massive fireplace — an imposing masonry fireplace that he built himself.
All three Haddox children (Charles, Lynnoa, and Kay) were born while Milton and Jeanne lived at Baldwin Park.
Milton — or Milt as his friends called him — enjoyed working with his hands. He never pursued higher education: he was self-taught in areas that he found fascinating and lucrative. He taught himself woodworking, plumbing, electrical, and various other construction trades. If he saw it done, he soon could master the craft.
He enjoyed being his own boss. While he was still in high school he spent his free time as a plastering contractor. His crew consisted of high school acquaintances — they became his lifelong friends. Milton was a natural in this trade, always a perfectionist. He could move his trowel from floor to ceiling, laying a fine perfect coat of plaster in one stroke.
At best, construction is a fickle profession. When times are good they are very good, when times are bad they are very bad. Milton wanted a bit more stability for his growing family, so he taught himself to be a diesel mechanic. He hired on at Ringsby Trucking, where he worked till he decided to move his family to Anderson, California.
On July 19, 1967 Milton and Jeanne traveled almost the length of California to relocate in Anderson. Once again he built his own home — a handsome split level building. The site was well chosen with a spectacular view to the east, dominated by picturesque Mount Lassen and overlooking the valley below.
At Anderson Milton continued his profession as a diesel mechanic, but his independent streak drove him to begin a new business — Milt’s Porto Bore. He did well in business because of his work ethic: truthfulness in dealing; an honest job for honest pay.
How to describe Milton? Two words immediately come to mind: he was hardworking and skillful. But it would take many more words to complete the description. He loved his family and he loved spending fun times with them. When he was younger, he enjoyed dancing and he liked to bowl. He really loved the outdoors: boating, camping, travel, deep sea fishing, and being with friends. Horses were his passion; he had horses during almost all of his adult life.
The philosophy Milton lived by was: You can make anything you want of your life; “IT’S UP TO YOU!” He proved that axiom over and over. He was very self-reliant. As a self-taught mechanic, if he could not locate a needed part he manufactured it in his private machine shop. Even though Milton advocated self-reliance he was not judgmental: he would accept people as they are — to him they were not rich or poor, educated or uneducated; they were just folks.
A very wise person once wrote:
Milton submitted himself to that challenge every day.
Milton was selfless and caring, always willing to help. His joy was the compensation of lending a hand.
My memory of Milton is that he was my friend.
Now friend is an interesting word: it has it roots in both English and German. Frēond, the Old English word for “friend,” simply meant “loving:” it was the present participle of the verb frēon, “to love.” The German root is frī, “to love.” It is fitting that Milton carried a name that ultimately descended from this noun, Frederick. Milton Frederick Haddox. Milton “loved and loving” Haddox.
Although he was not called to serve God through the church, he was a believer. Milton loved God’s creation — the outdoors, the open sky, the mountains, the lakes, the valleys, and the rivers. This was Milton’s cathedral.
God’s word speaks about the Miltons of this world:
And, as Jesus said to his disciples:
God knows each of us even before we are born. We should not be fearful of this life; it is only a training ground for the next.
If, somehow, God would let me design a man, Milton would be the final outcome. He was a man of honor: his word was his bond. When he made a promise, it was done. While his ways were unadorned and direct, he had a genuineness that is unsurpassed. He was honest to a fault.
Milton is survived by his wife of 53 years, Jeanne Marie, and their three children.
Lynnoa loved her father very much. She spoke of his character: he loved his wife unconditionally, he loved his children and grandchildren. She has shared with me the many lives that he has touched. Lynnoa found this quote that she felt was appropriate:
Kay shared her love in prose:
Milton leaves two sisters: Dorothy and Loretta, and one brother: Skip. Seven grandchildren: Charles, Leah, Jerrold, Crystal, Jason, Catherine, and Bryan, and two great grandchildren, Bryson and Cayten.
Emmet (Skip) Elgar Haddox
On October 4, 1934, in the small town of Bassett, California, a son was born to Emmet and Edith Haddox. Those were the days before the medical care we now enjoy, and it was common for children to be born at home. The prenatal and postnatal care of today was almost nonexistent. Fortunately, an old country doctor named Brayshaw tended the delivery. It was a difficult time for the newborn boy; the cord had looped around his neck and slowed life-giving oxygen — Emmet was in trouble. Even in today’s progressive medical environment, that complication can lead to serious problems. The skill of Dr. Brayshaw and Edith’s sister Dilly saved this precious child.
The infant Emmet grew into a child and soon picked up the nickname Skip. The name stuck. In fact it stuck so well that few people ever knew his given name.
When Skip was five years old, the family moved to El Monte. His childhood was typical of the times. He was a carefree and fun-loving boy. He had an older sister Dorothy and an older brother Milton. The family increased with the birth of his sister Loretta. The four children grew up in a wonderful loving atmosphere. Skip had a great sense of humor. He would rib and tease his siblings always in ways that everyone could enjoy.
Misfortune came, beginning while Skip was in high school. The elder Emmet was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away soon afterward, in 1953 when Skip was 20 years old. It was the time of the Korean War, and Skip sought a change in his life. He did not feel the need for higher education, and adventure beckoned. Soon after his father died, Skip joined the United States Navy.
Skip enjoyed the life of a sailor. He was assigned to the destroyer tender USS Piedmont, and sailed to Japan, China, and the Philippines. He took shore leave in Kobe, Sasebo, Hong Kong, Manila, and Subic Bay. Skip sailed throughout the Pacific and the China Sea. He even crossed the equator to become a Shellback on April 18, 1957.
Skip progressed well in the Navy. He learned the pipe fitting trade and completed his tour of duty as a First Class Petty Officer.
Although Skip had sailed over a large portion of the world, he met his future bride “back home” in El Monte, California. Darlene Haws lived just one street away from where Skip grew up. It was a great match: he was 6 feet 3 inches tall, and she measured just 5 feet. Skip and Darlene were very much in love. On May 18, 1955, Darlene and Skip became one in marriage at San Bernardino, California. This happy union had four children: Rae Ann, Robin, Randi, and Paul.
Skip was a quick learner and could do almost anything he set his mind to. While in El Monte he mastered and made his living as a cabinetmaker and setting counter tops. When a job opportunity opened with the city of El Monte, Skip took that position driving a street sweeper. He worked for the city till he and Darlene decided to move north.
He loved the country life. Cedarville, California would be their home from 1974 to 1986. In this Northern California area, Skip led a life most of us would envy. He logged, farmed, worked for the local school or at whatever task was available. His ability as a quick learner kept him always employed. He was also very skilled in the construction trades. He rehabbed an older Cedarville home and made it very attractive and very comfortable for his family. Skip and Darlene loved that small town — its charm, its friendliness, and its hometown flavor. The Haddox family was very happy.
Even in the best of circumstances, life can change quickly. In 1984, an automobile accident took the life of Skip’s mother and his daughter Randi. Randi’s year old daughter Chrystal became Skip and Darlene’s charge. Rising above the tragedy of the accident, Skip and Darlene joyfully took on the responsibility of raising their granddaughter. They loved Chrystal and wanted the very best for her in life.
Times would again change in 1986: Cedarville’s economy slowed and work was absolutely unavailable. Skip — resourceful as usual — found employment in Burney, California, a little more than 100 miles away. It was not prudent to travel the winding road from Cedarville to Burney on a daily basis, so the Haddox family relocated. The adjustment was easy and the family settled into routine life at Burney.
In 1988, the Haddox family again faced a serious turn of events. Darlene had begun to suffer the effects of degenerative diabetes, and her heart was failing. Despite the high risk of a heart operation, it was her only hope. Tragically, Darlene did not recover from the surgery. Skip’s surviving children (Rae Ann, Robin, and Paul) were grown and had children of their own, but Skip was left with his 5 year old granddaughter. He loved Chrystal, and gladly accepted the challenge of devoting most of the last 14 years of his life to raising his granddaughter.
Soon afterward, Skip moved with Chrystal to Johnson Park — a small community close to Burney. He purchased a fixer-upper and they settled in. Once again, Skip’s skills came to bear and the house developed into a beautiful and functional suburban home. Chrystal did well in school and moved on to college.
Skip had many friends and companions. He was well liked in the community. Skip earned a place in the Veterans of Foreign Wars club for his service during the Korean War. He was also a lifetime member of the American Legion.
Sadly, exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens in his youth took their toll. His lung disease was diagnosed as cancer. His suffering lasted for a number of years, slowly worsening till he was confined to short periods of exercise and total dependency on bottled oxygen. Even through his illness, Skip was always upbeat, uncomplaining, and a pleasure to be around. He may have had his dark times when he was alone, but he would never show it in public. He had a beautiful and joyful attitude. Skip was always friendly, confident, and funny. My children’s memory of Uncle Skip was his sense of humor. He could make them laugh and see the bright side of any situation. He was that way till his passing. We are all going to miss that wonderful cheerful man.
Skip is survived by three children: Rae Ann, Robin, and Paul; and six grandchildren: Chrystal, Jeremy, Nathan, Amanda, Matthew, and Evan.