Milford Ewing Wyss, 92, of Richmond, known as “The Ray County Storyteller”, passed away Saturday, May 24, at 6 p.m. at his home.
He was born July 14, 1921, in Moniteau County, the eldest son of Lylia B. (Miller) and J. Fred Wyss. The family moved to Ray County in 1926, where he attended Richmond Public Schools, graduating in 1939. He was united in marriage to Clara Ann (Ashley), of Orrick, June 12, 1943, at her family’s home. Milford attended William Jewell College, in Liberty, for three and a half years, before enlisting in the armed services for WWII. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force as a technical sergeant in the 817th Med Air Evac Unit, where he was awarded five bronze stars.
Following WWII, Milford and Clara Ann moved to Kansas City, Mo., where he was employed by Wilson & Company Meat Packing. In 1946, they returned to Richmond, where Milford began employment in the United States Post Office, retiring as postmaster in 1980. During his employment with the postal service, he was a member of the National Association of Letter Carriers, and also the National Association of Postmasters of the United States, where he served as former president of the Northwest District. He also worked part-time as a Field Officer for the Ray County Planning/Zoning from 1994 until 2011, one month before his 90th birthday.
Milford was an active member of the First Baptist Church of Richmond, for 80 years. There, he served as a Sunday School teacher, became a deacon in 1958, also serving as chairman of the deacons, was a Training Union director, and a trustee.
Milford was also proud to serve as the very first male president of the local PTA. He also served on the site committee for the present-day Richmond High School. He served two terms as the president of the Ray County Historical Society. He was a member of the Ray County Genealogical Society, Friends of the Farris, as well as serving as former charter secretary-treasurer for the Richmond Optimist Club, former member of the VFW, a member of the American Legion, a 50 plus year member of AF & AM 57 Masonic Lodge, and a former member of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. Milford was also a member of the Richmond Rotary Club, honored to be named a Paul Harris Fellow. He was the chairman of the Richmond Planning Commission for 20 years.
Milford gave “talks” at various civic organizations throughout his life. Topics ranged from Ray County history, antiques, and restoration of furniture, to segments from his memoir, “Recollecting, Rambling, and Reflecting”. When not telling a story, Milford could usually be found in the workshop in his basement, where he refinished and restored furniture for family and friends, usually in preparation for an antique show. He was well-respected by antique dealers throughout northwest Missouri. And, if he wasn’t working on furniture, he was either reading a book, gardening, or working a crossword puzzle–in pen. Milford and Clara Ann enjoyed many travels together through the years across 49 states, leaving only Alaska as unconquered.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by one brother, Ross B. Wyss of Independence, and two sisters; Lila Haendiges of Palmer, MAass., and Frances Dewell of Quincy, IL. Survivors include his wife of nearly 71 years, Clara Ann, of the home; daughter and son-in-law, Judy and David Young of Windsor; daughter Janet LaBarr of Richmond; grandsons Paul Young of South Sioux City, Neb., and Cameron LaBarr of Cleveland, Tenn.; granddaughters Jillian (Young) Hamming of Lee’s Summit, and Sarah Beth LaBarr of Kansas City, Mo.; three great-grandchildren, with a fourth on the way, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A fellowship and Military Honors remembering Milford will be held later this summer. Online condolences may be left at www.CremationCenterKC.com.
Milford leaves us all a legacy: JOY! Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last. And, the family is sorry that this obituary is as long as one of his stories.