Facts and Events
Since we shall not be with you at this year's reunion, Jim and Faith McGregor asked me to prepare a mini-biography of my father that can be attached to the genealogical material which will soon be deposited in the Western Michigan University archives. It does seem appropriate that someone describe the man who almost singlehandedly (and certainly whole heartedly) developed our outstanding and historically important Waber and Miller family records on which each individual descendent can construct his/her ongoing "tree" with confidence. Dad would want me to make a note here that we are not really Millers but Mullers, with an umlaut. OK with two dots over the u which can also be rendered "Mueller". Except that the family long ago chose the English translation which stands by common consent. The important point is that when researching the European church records we need to remember the German spelling. So much for my Preface. Now, with your permission, let me try to describe my father to future readers of the family files as well as the many younger cousins today who did not know him.
LOUIS ARTHUR WABER (1882-1979)
First let it be observed that a more important genealogical project is hard to imagine. The Millers and the Wabers were part of America's historic mid-19th century German immigration that had great impact on our nations development. And in terms of the sesquicentenial state state of Michigan in which they chose to settle, these are the log cabin pioneers of Van Buren County who tamed the wilderness before the state was even in its teens. It is a rare and valuable gift we are making to future Michigan historians and a priceless gift also to Wabers and Millers of another century who will want very much to know when their ancestors came to America and what their lives were like. We have L Arthur ("Uncle Art") Waber, particualrly, to thank for assembling our genealogy with great attention to detail over a period of many years. The files speak for themselves. But who was he exactly?
L Arthur was a man of exceptional heritage. I saw none of my grandparents (three of whom died in 1917) and his own mother died when he was only 10. Yet I remember my mother's frequent description of her father in law, Thomas Waber, as a kind and pleasant man. And from her letters that survive we can tell that Anna Eliza (Miller) Waber was equally kind, pleasant, loving, and thoroughly Christian. Thomas and Eliza accordingly suceeded in raising children whose loving, sharing, constructive lives were a credit to their parents. Daughter Alma, for example, who married John McGregor and lived for so many years on the old Waber farm after a period in Manton whose beautiful family again reflects such credit on the parents. Thomas LaVerne ("Uncle Verne"), a veteran of WWI, whose son Henry (by Mabel Kingsley Waber) has always been a joy to the family. James Warren (whose war was the Spanish American), who became a distinguished inventor and the father of Dr. James Thomas Waber, scientist and university professor who participated in WWII's Manhatten Project. And there was Paul Miller Waber, the very enterprising farmer who lived just down the road from the ancestral home, whose daughters Pauline and Marie (by Josie Champion) always have reflected that same loving good nature of Thomas and Eliza. "Art" thus was blessed with siblings who were good to their little brother and with aunts, uncles, and cousins by the dozen who knew and cared about him. All of which seems to provide the optimum "environment" in which to raise a genealogist!
However L Arthur Wabers story is not quite that simple. Like his sister and his brothers each of whom chose a unique path in life, Dad, too, was "one of a kind". Completion of primary grades at the one room "quail trap" school was followed by some further schooling in Grand Rapids