Miller: A man with a vision'
By By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
July 13, 2003
The Rev. Charlie "C.J." Miller's friends remembered him Saturday as a man who loved life, fought for civil rights in Mississippi and hated to see people mistreated.
About 400 people attended Miller's funeral Saturday at Northpark Baptist Church in Meridian. Miller was killed when a Lockheed Martin employee went on a shooting rampage Tuesday.
As the church filled with people, including about 60 family members, more chairs were brought in. Many people gave up their seats to let the family members sit together.
As Miller's family, friends and co-workers sang, "I Can't Even Walk Without Him Holding My Hand," they jumped from the chairs to rejoice and celebrate Miller's life. Some cried.
Miller, 58, was the second shooting victim to be buried.
Mickey Lee Fitzgerald was buried on Friday. Two others were buried later Saturday: Lynette McCall in York, Ala., and Thomas Willis in Yantley, Ala. The funeral for the fifth victim, Sam Cockrell, is Monday.
In Yantley, Willis was buried at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church cemetery. In York, McCall's funeral took place in the York West End School gymnasium.
Mike McBoy, a friend of McCall's, said she will be remembered.
Among the hundreds attending Miller's funeral was Lockheed Martin employee Brad Bynum who was shot in the back during the shooting. Bynum entered the church walking with a cane.
Bynum's bandaged gunshot wound to the back was visible through his dark blue tank top. During the three-hour service, he sat next to the Miller's wife.
Ernest Smith, a neighbor of Miller's, said it was his good fortune to know Miller.
Friend and local contractor Dennis Lenoir, who worked with Miller on the remodeling of the Holiday Inn Express in Meridian, fondly remembered Miller.
In addition to being a Lockheed Martin employee and pastor, Miller owned his own masonry company, which built many businesses and houses in Meridian.
The Rev. Jim Daniel, pastor of Dixon Assembly of the Church of God, said the word "senseless" comes to mind when thinking of Miller's death.