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Mel Trotter Ministries
225 Commerce Ave SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
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Life Story / Obituary
Moxon. That name. He once gave his sons a plaque talking about the importance of the integrity of a name. “A good name [earned by honorable behavior, godly wisdom, moral courage, and personal integrity] is more desirable than great riches; and favor is better than silver and gold.” Prov. 22:1.
The name, Milton Russell Moxon, was given to him by his parents on March 10, 1925. Milt was born the 4th child of 7 to Esther and Clair Moxon. His young life was full with activity – playing in orchestra, singing in choir, diligent in his studies, starting his first job as a youngster delivering newspapers, helping around the house, being doted on by his sisters, and playing and rough-housing with his brothers. That rough-housing lead to an accident that resulted in a severe wound to his head when he was still young, nearly tearing off his ear, causing a skull fracture, and being put on bed rest for weeks while he healed. It’s truly a miracle that he survived. The strength Milt gained through this trial prepared him for many trials to come, including the wound that almost ended his life during WWII.
Milt met the love of his life, Dorothy Dell Haney, when he was living with his brother in Chicago. He had heard of a beautiful girl living just a few doors down. He had yet to meet her, until one summer day as Dorothy was returning to her apartment after washing her hair, the two met on the stairs. Dorothy was terribly embarrassed to be caught with her hair wet, but Milt, whenever he told the story of how they met, would always tell of how beautiful she was with those long, black locks of hair. The two soon began dating and fell in love, but it was now 1942, and World War II had reached into every corner of the globe as well as every aspect of daily life.
In 1943, shortly after Milt’s graduation from high school, he went off to boot camp. He brought New Testaments with him and gave them to servicemen at boot camp. He read his Bible every night and prayed, trusting God as he started his service in the military. Wherever Milt was assigned, he always found a good church to attend to be under the teaching of God’s Word. He became involved in those churches as much as allowed while he was in the service, often singing with the choir and joining fellowship times after church.
Remember protecting the integrity of a name? Milt’s resolve to live with integrity stemmed first and foremost from his relationship with Jesus Christ, to whom he committed his life as a young teen. This resolve was tested often throughout his time in the service. Milt’s dedication to Christ and living with integrity is reflected in one of the letters he wrote home while he was stationed in Mississippi. His platoon sergeant once said, “Any man who doesn’t drink, smoke, or chew doesn’t belong in the First Platoon.” He wrote that he really lost respect for his sergeant after that. Additionally, he wrote that, in later talking with his service buddies, “If he thought he would drive me to drink that way, he was off!”
His humor also showed through in his letters. He was exhausted and feeling sick from the heat in Mississippi, and he stated that even drowning his sorrows in drink didn’t make him feel better – that is, drinking a quart of Mississippi milk! And his faith shows up in his letters home. References to Romans 8:28, Romans 8:14-15, Psalm 144 demonstrate how he was looking to God’s comfort and hope to give him strength. His letters also record how thankful he was to his mom for her letters and the many scriptures they contained as they helped sustain his faith.
Milton was assigned to the 94th Infantry Division where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He was wounded February 2, 1945. After a long and painful healing process he was able to go home, though he would carry the scars of that war for the rest of his life with physical and emotional pain that would never fully heal. At the end of dad’s life, he said, “The war changed me. It really made me grow in my faith and trust in God.”
After the war, Milton married Dorothy, the love of his life, on June 22, 1946. They enjoyed 65 years of a Christ-centered marriage. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Michigan in 1950. They went on to have 3 sons, fostered 32 babies in 3 years, served in various roles in church, and loved on other peoples’ children, even those with special needs, as they loved their own children. Their home was always a place of hospitality, including missionaries, one of whom became like a daughter to them. Their love grew to include their daughters-in-law, their 8 grandchildren, and their 7 great-grandchildren. After Dorothy went to be with the Lord in 2011, Milton lived to love 12 more great-grandchildren. He was looking forward to welcoming his first great-great-grandson who was born 2 months after Milton went to be with his Lord.
Milton’s commitment to Christ as his Savior gave him the resolve to have faithfulness to his God, his country, his wife, his children, the foster children, his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and his many friends and extended family.
Lest we elevate him to sainthood, we need to remember that he would be the first one to acknowledge that he was a sinner, saved by grace, who needed the Savior, Jesus Christ, for this life and for eternal life with the Father. Some of his last words to us were that he sinned, he made mistakes, and he hoped people would remember the good he did and not the sin. Getting back to that plaque Milton gave to his sons – it’s only because of the truth that he was a sinner saved and washed clean by God’s grace that he could give the plaque to them.Milton wanted to pass down a legacy that would bring honor to the Moxon name, but that can ultimately only be done by bringing honor to a greater name: Jesus Christ. He did not want to dishonor Christ, and he wanted his children and descendants to inherit a good name that reflected integrity. But even more than inheriting the name “Moxon,” he wanted his children to know he had only been able to live with integrity because he had been made clean by the grace of God and had become a descendant of Christ. The inheritance of Christ’s name is the ultimate legacy he wanted to leave.
Here is what the plaque it says:
You got it from your Father, it was all he had to give.
So it’s yours to use and cherish for as long as you may live.
If you lose the watch he gave you, it can always be replaced.
But a black mark on your name, son, can never be erased.
It was clean the day you took it, a worthy name to bear.
When he got it from his father there was no dishonor there.
So make sure you guard it wisely. After all is said done,
You’ll be glad the name is spotless when you give it to your son.
The man with that name, Milton R. Moxon, went peacefully to the Lord on December 13, 2022. God now says to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter the joy of the Lord.”
MOXON – Milton R. Moxon, age 97, entered into the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on December 13, 2022 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Milton leaves behind him a legacy of deep and abiding faith in his Savior, which fueled a life marked by courage and compassion, integrity, and faithfulness to God, his nation, and his family.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Dorothy, in 2011, as well as by his brothers and sisters Vincent Moxon, Frank Moxon, Marian Carlson, Virginia Anderson, Alice Nelson, and Patricia Martin.
Milton is survived by his children, James Moxon, Douglas and Sharon Moxon, Paul and Camille Moxon; eight grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
A service to remember and celebrate Milt's life will be held on Saturday, June 24, 2023 at 1 PM at First Evangelical Covenant Church in Grand Rapids.
To read more about Milt, to share a memory or photo, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in honor of Milton to The Gideons International or Mel Trotter Ministries.
He also had an opportunity to go on a Talon's Out flight. The week before he went on that flight to the WWII monument on Washington, D.C., we found all the letters he had written home to his parents. Because he was wounded in WWII, all his belongings and letters his parents wrote to him were lost when he was evacuated. There was one letter that he eventually received from his mother. She had sent it new year's day 1945, but it never reached him overseas. This letter is featured in this video done by Talon's Out. They presented him with this letter during roll call on the way home from the trip.