Taft businessman, college trustee is son of Maricopa pioneers
Flying and Family were the two themes which surrounded the 90th Birthday of longtime Taft resident and businessman John Miller who celebrated this
milestone at his home in Taft.
The flying aspect of the celebration started last Thursday as he and his son Roger flew a Beechcraft Bonanza to Chico and back to pick up
granddaughter Kayli. The 600 mile round trip adventure was a reminder of nearly 70 years of piloting Miller has enjoyed.
He received his pilots license in 1942 as a member of the Army Air Corp (later called the United States Air Force) in Pampa Texas. He logged more
than 1800 hundred hours as a military pilot with a commercial multi-engine license. His credentials allowed him to fly B-24 and B-25 Bombers as World
War II came to an end. His flying continued in Long Beach California where he served as a reserve officer.
In the 1950's and 1960's he was a member of the Taft Pilots Club, flying aircraft built by Taylorcraft, Piper, Cessna, Fairchild, and North American Rockwell. As a hobby he would take skydivers to 13,000 feet at the local airport known as the Taft Drop Zone. His civilian pilot experience added an additional 1200 hours to his log book.
Although he has taken the yoke of aircraft big and small, he enjoys the speed and comfort of the high performance single engine Bonanza he recently flew.
The family aspect of the occasion included a superb meal and deserts prepared by grandson Garret and his wife Claudia. Both are Bachelor's Degree
graduates of the Culinary Institute of America in New York. They reside in Santa Barbara and work in the restaurant business. Grandchildren Kayli and
Clay also helped with the festivities as did Kellie McDonald and Stephanie Castro. David and Maria Howell of Visalia brought their young children Dylan
Miller grew up in Maricopa, the son of Leo and Charlotte Miller, pioneers of the oil business. He married Betty Harkelroad whose parents were
proprietors of the grocery store in Maricopa.
Miller owned the Ideal Market and Pacific Perforating until his retirement in 1998. He has been a member of the Taft Rotary Club for 56 years and many of his flying experiences centered around his involvement with the International Flying Rotarians.
Healso served on the Taft College Board of Trustees for 32 years. Currently he shares time between his rental property in Santa Barbara and the family home
on Church street in Taft.