Not often do you find one so talented in both oil painting and pastels in statues, in murals, in making sets and decorations for plays, in metal sculpture, and all kinds of mobiles. It is such a man that our Cameo will discuss today. You probably have seen and admired the figure of a baseball player in front of the Coca Cola Bottling Company. This was created as a tribute to the late Mr. and Mrs. Larry Hunter. Our Cameo personality is the creator of that statue
He was commissioned by Morris Sims to design a memorial piece in memory of his wife, Juanita. It is at the First United Methodist Church. It is called “The Angel of Hope.”
When he told me that he was born in Ferriday, La., he reminded me that Ferriday was either famous or infamous for the cousins Jimmy Swaggart/Mickey Gilley/ Jerry Lee Lewis. Each of these men were gifted musicians in their area of service. Our Cameo personality is equally gifted as either an organist or a pianist, as well as all the other talents that he possesses.
Mr. Larry Milford was born to Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Milford. The Milfords lived in McIntyre in a house that was built in about 1953.
Larry’s father is dead, but his 84 year old mother still lives in this house. Larry indicated at an early age that he was interested in art. His mother can vouch for that because when he was about six he scratched a figure in the finish of her desk. His parents provided music lessons from a Mrs. Claire who lived in Princeton and drove to McIntyre to give Larry and a little girl lessons. It was hard for Larry to practice since his family did not have a piano. After a while, Mrs. W. J. Cox wanted to take lessons from this lady and Larry went to the Cox home for his lessons and practiced on the Cox piano.
Later he took piano lessons from Mrs. C. O. Nelson of Junction City, Ark. and in the last years of his instruction he was a student of Mrs. B. R. Rankin there in McIntyre.
After graduation from high school Larry enrolled at La. Tech. He was undecided about his major. He finally settled on Art and received his degree in 1964, but he continued for another year in Art Education.
He learned the principles of many types of art while there at Tech.
In 1964, he was married to Miss Barbara Johns of McIntyre. In 1966 they became the parents of a son, Lawrence, and then in 1970 they became the parents of a daughter, Liesl. Lawrence and his wife are the parents of Larry’s only grandchild, a grandson, Lance who is 7.
Larry and his wife lived in Shreveport for almost 31 years while Larry worked for American Machine and Foundry, an internationally known company. Later it became known as Beaird Industries. While they lived in Shreveport they were members of Broadmoor Baptist Church. He has done major productions for Broadmoor Baptist Church, and is currently working on an Easter production for Summer Grove Baptist Church. He not only designs sets but he also designs and makes the costumes. He designed and built a fountain behind Barnwell Center that was commissioned by Mrs. Shehee in memory of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Kilpatrick. He designed and made two three foot tall Eagle heads and a tropical rain forest of metal for a prominent Shreveport family
Larry and his wife returned to McIntyre about five years ago. He is pianist for Antioch Baptist church, serves as a Deacon and teaches a Sunday School Class.
Recently he designed and painted a baptistry picture for the First Baptist Church of Sibley. Larry said that it is a picture of a sunset over the Jordan River. Jesus is there with his arms outstretched, and over his head a dove flies. He painted the picture so that it is almost three dimensional. It seems like Jesus’ arms extend out from the picture, and the dove seems to be partially out of the picture into the room.
Larry is a talented writer with over 100 poems that he has written along with 50 songs. He is allowing me to use one of his poems on angels to accompany this Cameo. Currently Larry teaches Oil Painting at Wade Correctional Institute on Thursday night each week. He is teaching a Clay class at The Neighborhood. And he is designing a mural that will be 20 feet by 15 feet of the Homer Oil Field. This mural is for the Ford Museum in Homer. He is on the Board of Cultural Crossroads and the Shadows Museum. Several other projects are still in the planning stages.
Whether it is paintings, mobiles, statues, murals or any other art form you will find that Larry Milford has done that and is still working on others In addition he is a licensed floral designer. He said he loved to learn, and is constantly broadening his abilities.
He once watched a lady crochet. He asked that she teach him. She thought he was joking, but she said that he was left-handed and it might be impossible for her to teach him. She showed him the steps to crochet, and by morning he had finished a crochet piece to her amazement. He said he did not plan to enter of career of crocheting, but he wanted to know how to crochet. Most of the things he has made are simply self-taught. God gave him an extraordinary ability to make beautiful things and he has used his abilities for God’s glory – either in painting sets for church plays or playing for worship services, he is dedicated to do his best.
We are blessed to have this talented artist in our area, and we are blessed by the beautiful poems that he has written, the songs he has composed, the paintings, the sculptures, and the many things of beauty that he has created. When I told him of my fascination with angels, he shared a beautiful poem. entitled “Angels”. I’d like to share the poem with you, since it has meant a lot to me. I know that you have met an Angel like the one he describes, haven’t you? I have.
All my life I’ve heard of these,
Angels, as they are called
I’ve seen them painted, hung on trees,
Displayed on church house walls.
I never thought I’d ever meet
One face to face one day,
But God finally let me, friend,
The day you came my way.
During times of pain, there you were,
During times of joy again
During times that meant so much to me
You became an Angel, friend.
A listening ear, a loving heart,
Reveals your halo bright
You are so loved, if you don’t know
Though I see no wings of white
A smiling face, a tender touch,
Just knowing that you’re near
You don’t have to do or say
To show how much you care.
During times of pain, There you were,
During times of joy, again,
During times that meant so much to me
You became an Angel, friend
The kindest thought, that golden deed,
God uses you that way,
The Lord magnifies His love in you,
He blessed again today.
Time will come, maybe soon,
When Christ will come again,
We can kneel and thank Him for
Our every Angel, friend.
For during times of pain, there you were,
During time of joy, again,
During times that meant the most to me
You became an Angel then.
Juanita Agan submitted a weekly column to the Press-Herald for more than 15 years until her death in 2008. She was a resident of Minden since 1935. The Press-Herald is republishing select articles from Mrs. Agan’s Cameos column every Wednesday.