Myrtis was born to Willie and Roy Sr., the seventh child of a family that would grow to ten. Myrtis was born in rural Chambers County in a little town called Lafayette, Alabama. Myrtis was a very bright and energetic young girl. She lived and grew up in a very loving, religious, and educated family environment. Her mother, Willie, played the piano sung at the local Methodist church well into her late 80’s. Myrtis graduated from the local high school and then moved to Eufaula, Oklahoma to attend college and live with her Aunt Sara and her husband, Dr. Cooper. Myrtis returned to Lafayette, Alabama in 1946 after being away for one year and married Raymond Milton. In 1947, they would have their first child, Janice who was born in Waverly, Alabama. Janice’s birth aided by a midwife, was most difficult causing Myrtis to almost lose her life. Myrtis’s father, Roy, Sr., worked for the Dallas Soda Pop Company. Roy brought many gifts of fruits and candies to his children as he returned home from traveling. Myrtis remembered fondly how loving and kind her father was to her. In 1948, the new family moved to Asheville, North Caroline where Myrtis’s Aunt Ruth Bradley had a thriving restaurant, pool hall, and hotel business. Myrtis worked in the restaurant and her husband, Raymond, worked in the pool hall. The money was not enough for a growing family and Myrtis was pregnant with her second child. She told Raymond to get a real job. Raymond, like all the other people of this era, migrated north to Chicago to find work. In short order, Raymond was hired as a carman for the Burlington Northern Railroad. Raymond worked this job for 44 years. Raymond sent for his family after their son, Albert, was born in Asheville. They moved into a tenement on the West side of Chicago in the basement. This was a very lively area of Chicago with street vendors selling everything imaginable. In a very short time, Aunt Ruth Bradley moved to Chicago and purchased a six flat apartment building and moved the Milton family into it. The apartment building was in Hyde Park, the first suburb of Chicago and home to the University of Chicago. During the next six or seven years the family developed and thrived in this enriched environment. Ruth was forced to sell the six flat apartment building under the guise of Urban Renewal; in reality, it would be sold to the University of Chicago and later became a Theology Seminary. The Milton family lived in Hyde Park for the next 30 years. During this time, Myrtis and Raymond sent two kids to college. Myrtis even got a part-time job to help with the expenses. The family marched for civil rights and freedom in the March on Washington in 1963. Myrtis was politically active with the local Democratic Party. Myrtis was a supporter of the kidney foundation and second mother to most of Janice and Albert’s friends. In 1979, Myrtis helped her daughter buy the first blacked owned and operated beauty salon in downtown Chicago. Myrtis was the receptionist and Janice ran the day to day business. The business lasted 30 years. After the passing of her husband, Myrtis sold the two flat home and returned to Asheville, North Carolina with her daughter, where she purchased a home along with Janice and her husband in 2009. Myrtis lived with her daughter and they helped raise her two great granddaughters, Janice and Eva. Janice graduated from the University of North Carolina, Asheville campus and is working in Raleigh, North Carolina. Eva graduated from Salem University in Winston Salem, North Carolina and is working in Atlanta, Georgia. Myrtis passed away peacefully in March, 2020. A Celebration of Her Life is scheduled for April, 2020. Internment will be at the Forest Home Cemetery, Forest Park, IL.
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