His first parade was the biggest one of all: He and wife Betty marched in1938 Rose Parade with Maricopa High School band
Special to the Taft Midway Driller
As Monday evening's Christmas parade down Center Street draws nearer, no one is more excited about the festivity than Grand Marshal John J. Miller.
"This is a huge honor," he told his family, "Taft is a wonderful town and I have made great friends and enjoyed success in business here. It almost brings me to tears when I think about being Grand Marshall."
It has been a long time since Miller was in a parade.
He recalls that in 1960 the Taft Rotary Club had a float depicting an American family Christmas. It was complete with a fireplace and Christmas tree loaded with toys. "Our whole family was on that float. My sons Johnnie and Roger were playing with their new toys, Betty was helping my daughter Kathy open gifts," he said. "It's been 53 years, so I guess it's about time I try it again."
Miller's parade experience might be limited, but he has participated in "the Grand-Daddy of them all." In 1938 he and wife to be Betty were in the Maricopa High School Marching Band.
"We marched down Colorado Street in Pasadena on New Year's Day. "People raise their eyebrows, when I tell them the story of Maricopa being in the Tournament of Roses Parade," he quipped, "But I've got the photo to prove it."
The decision to appoint Miller Grand Marshall has likely based on his 92 years of living on the West Side. His Parents Leo and Charlotte raised him in Maricopa. Leo worked in many facets of oil production, most notably the McKutheon Lease north of town.
He met his wife Betty at Maricopa High school. Her parents Flint and Mattie were proprietors of the local grocery store located downtown on Highway 33. They were married nearly 72 years ago at the Bakersfield Methodist Church.
Miller enlisted in the Army Air Corp (Air Force today) during World War II, flying B-24's and B-25's.
Later he owned the Ideal Market on Sixth Street and Seventh Avenue. He ran a catering business out of the back of the store and fondly remembers putting on huge barbecues for companies like Standard Oil and Southern California Gas.
In 1969 he purchased Pacific Perforating, an oilfield tubular service business. He retired in 1998 and the business continues to operate today 12 miles west of Taft.
Along with son Roger and daughter Kathy, the couple has grandchildren Garret, Kayli and Clay. "I know the kids and grandkids are excited about the parade too," he remarked, "I know it will be a special night for me and the good people of Taft."