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 Rhea F. <I>Ross</I> Miller

Rhea F. Ross Miller

Birth
North Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York, USA
Death 2 Mar 1966 (aged 71)
Kankakee, Kankakee County, Illinois, USA
Burial Caroline, Tompkins County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 42445380 · View Source
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Hymn writer. In 1922, she wrote "I'd Rather Have Jesus." The music composer was George B. Shea.

Rhea F. Miller was the only daughter of Martin and Bertha Ross, from Brooktondale, NY, which is 8 miles out of Ithaca, NY. "Grampa Ross," we called him, had been a drunk and wanted nothing to do with religion. His wife, Bertha, was faithful to God in spite of her husband's drunkenness. Her faithfulness and the prayers of family and friends eventually led to his salvation and deliverance from alcohol. As a result, he entered the ministry and became pastor of the Baptist Church in Brooktondale. The Miller family attended the Baptist church, whose members included a young man named Howard Vassar Miller. He was saved in 1910 when he was just 16 years old. It wasn't long before he and Rhea caught each others' eye, and after he graduated from Colgate University, he and Rhea were married.

One day in 1922, at 28 years of age, while walking the fields of their Brooktondale home, Rhea began to reflect on her father's testimony of how he had been delivered from alcohol, and how he had said he would rather have Jesus than all the gold and silver in the world, and all the houses and land that money could buy. Thus the song was born and soon took form with her own words complete with her own music... [In 1939] is when George Beverly Shea found the song in just its poem form and wrote his version of the music to "I'd Rather Have Jesus."-- Ron Kelly, Jr.

I'd Rather Have Jesus – The Lyrics
I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I'd rather be His than have riches untold;
I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
I'd rather be led by His nail pierced hand.

I'd rather have Jesus than men's applause;
I'd rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I'd rather have Jesus than world-wide fame,
I'd rather be true to His holy name.

He's fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He's sweeter than honey from out of the comb;
He's all that my hungering spirit needs,
I'd rather have Jesus and let Him lead.

[Chorus]
Than to be a king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin's dread sway,
I'd rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

Mrs. Rhea F. Miller, 71, of Kankakee, Ill., died Wednesday, March 2, after a long illness. She was born in North Syracuse, March 5, 1894. She was the daughter of the late Rev. M. J. Ross and Mrs. Bertha Ross. She lived most of her life in Brooktondale and was the widow of the late Rev. H. V. Miller. Mrs. Miller was the author of several hymns including "I'd Rather Have Jesus." She was a piano teacher in the Brooktondale, Candor area. She was a member of the Central Nazarene Church in Kankakee. She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Quanstrom of Tinley Park, Ill., and three grandchildren. The body will be brought to Brooktondale where services will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, March 7 at the Baptist Church with the Rev. George Galloway, pastor of the Central Nazarene Church in Kankakee, and the Rev. Kenneth Pearsall, district superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene in Syracuse, officiating. Burial will be in Quicks Cemetery, Brooktondale. Arrangements are in charge of the Allen Funeral Home, Candor.


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  • Created by: Tom Childers
  • Added: 27 Sep 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 42445380
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rhea F. Ross Miller (5 Mar 1894–2 Mar 1966), Find A Grave Memorial no. 42445380, citing Quick Cemetery, Caroline, Tompkins County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Tom Childers (contributor 46515204) .