Twins Juanita Virginia Murphy Beller and Paul Wayne Murphy will celebrate 90 years of life on Nov. 24. They were born in 1922 (15 minutes apart, Juanita first) at the family home at 209 West 4th Street in Ada to Thomas Jay Murphy (Ada school board member and longtime Ada Railway Express Agent) and Carrie Alice Robinson Murphy.
Paul and Juanita attended Irving Elementary School (grades 1-6) and Ada Junior High school (grades 7-8). The Murphy family moved to Center on May 27, 1936. Here Juanita and Paul would eventually meet their future and lifelong mates. They attended Vanoss (grades 9-12) and graduated in 1940. Both continued their education at East Central State College.
For the next three years, Paul worked for the Frisco Railroad at Ada and Madill and for the Railway Express Agency at Lawton. He went to California in July 1943 and married his high school sweetheart, Wanda Jo Cox, on Aug. 21 in the preacher’s study of a church in Oakland, Calif., with his twin sister as one of the two legal witnesses. Paul and Wanda resided at Alameda, Calif.
During World War II, Paul was inducted into the U.S. Army on June 14, 1944. He served in Company I 475th Infantry and was in the Mars Task Force. His duty included the China - Burma - India (CBI) theater. During that time he flew the HUMP over the Himalayas from Ledo, Burma to Kun Ming, China on a C-46 (only 60 percent of the planes who flew the HUMP completed the trip safely due to Japanese air attacks). Paul was honorably discharged in July 1946.
Paul was shipped to a POE (Port of Embarkation) to be sent overseas at midnight Jan. 27, 1945. He had no communication with family for about 45 days. His first child, Larry, was born that morning, Jan. 27, 1945. Paul didn’t learn about the specifics of Larry’s birth until 45 days later at his overseas location, and first saw Larry at 17 months old on July 2, 1946, when he returned to Oklahoma to be rejoined with Wanda after his discharge from the Army.
Early in 1947 he contracted to transport mail for the US Post Office. He was later employed under Civil Service on July 1, 1948, with the US Post Office, serving as a letter carrier for almost 34 years, first as a city carrier until April 21, 1956, and then as a rural carrier until March 5, 1982, when he retired. Paul also operated an income tax service from 1954 to 2005. Wanda was employed by McClellans, the Sugg Clinic, and Evans Hardware.
For six decades the couple has been actively involved in the Ada First Free Will Baptist Church and the Pickett/Gaar Corner Community Free Will Baptist Church. Paul has faithfully served as music director and as a teacher of children, teens, and adults.
The Murphys have three children: Larry (wife Barbara), Charles (wife Janie), and Paula (husband Gary Bloom), and seven grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.
Juanita married Jack Beller in Reno, Nev., on Aug. 2, 1942, both at the age of 19. They recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Jack celebrated his 90th birthday on Oct. 1. They were sweethearts before the war began.
At the time of their marriage Jack was already serving in the US Army, on his way to North Africa to serve as an Army MP on a World War II prison ship to guard German prisoners who were captured by Patton’s army and brought back to prison camps in the USA.
For a while, Juanita stayed in California. There, living in Alameda, during the war, Juanita was a “Rosie-the-Riveter” and spent her days at factories cutting sheet metal that would be used in the war effort. Her second job was at a cannery. Home was an apartment in a converted laundry that she shared with Jack’s parents.
Before the end of the war, she returned to Ada. Finally after a 19 month stretch of not being able to see each other, in July 1944, Juanita made the trek from Ada to New York City to be reunited at Grand Central Station. Jack was then stationed in New York City.
After Jack’s being honorably discharged, the couple moved back to Ada. Later the Bellers moved to Midwest City. Both were civilian employees at Tinker Air Force Base, Jack from 1951 and Juanita from 1957. Both retired in 1978 and “went home” retiring to a “gentleman/gentlewoman” farm near Ada and have lived there since.
They attend Center Free Will Baptist Church and are still active in supporting the youth programs there.
The Bellers have two sons: Jack Beller, M.D. (wife Ruth) and Rick Beller, M.D. (wife Lynne), five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
The Bellers and Murphys are neighbors living within a mile of where they grew up.
Family and friends may send birthday greetings, cards, memories and old stories, old pictures, etc to Paula Bloom, 6621 Sandlewood Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73132.