August 13, 1921 - August 25, 2017
Iconic Taft businessman and community supporter John Miller died unexpectedly August 25 surrounded by immediate family. He had recently celebrated his 96th birthday.
Grandson Garret Miller commented, “Today we lost our patriarch. Our father, grandfather, great-grandfather, but most of all our friend. May he exit this world with the same peace and gratitude in which he bestowed upon those who were fortunate to have been blessed by his 96 years.”
Younger grandson Clay said, “My grandfather John was an extraordinary man. He was far more than a grandpa. Throughout his life he led by example. He taught us that having integrity is what being a Miller truly meant. He treated his wife of 75 years like a queen. He raised a strong family.”
Granddaughter Kayli noted “There was always a positive ambiance around Grandpa. He treated everyone with respect. He taught us to love and cherish the people around us. An extension of those feelings was his love for the family dog, Scruffy. He always enjoyed having him around.
Born August 13, 1921 in San Francisco, Miller’s family moved to Maricopa in 1923.
He met his future wife Betty at Maricopa High School. Her parents Flint and Mattie Harkleroad were proprietors of the local grocery store located downtown on Hwy 33. John and Betty were married over 75 years ago at the Bakersfield Methodist Wedding Chapel.
Miller enlisted in the Army Air Corp (Air Force today) during World War II. He flew and was an instructor for B-17’s, B-24’s and B-25’s.
After the war, he owned Ideal Market on Sixth and San Emidio Streets in Taft. He ran a catering business out of the back of the store and fondly remembered putting on huge barbecues for companies like Standard Oil and Southern California Gas. He also donated his time furnishing food for Taft College athletes.
In 1969, he purchased Pacific Perforating, an oilfield tubular service business. The transition from grocery to oilfield machining went seamlessly. Pacific Perforating became profitable almost immediately. His work ethic, positive outlook and respect for employees and customers kept the business solid. He retired in 1998 and the business continues to operate today,12 miles west of Taft. He and his wife also owned and operated rental properties in Santa Barbara and Taft. He was on the Taft College Board of Trustees for 32 years and a Rotary member for more than 50. Miller served on the Oildorado Celebration Board bringing in vintage WWII aircraft for the air show and catering at the Petroleum Club. He and his family were members of the United Methodist Church for 70 years.
Retirement offered the ability to travel the world and enjoy time with his grandchildren and many friends. Miller was privileged to set foot on every continent and visited over 50 countries. He maintained lifelong relationships and started new ones. The family often joked, “a stranger was a friend he never met.”
Miller is preceded in death by his parents Leo and Charlotte, brother Gene, sister Pat and eldest son Johnnie. He is survived by wife Betty, brother Bill, children Roger and Katherine, grandchildren Kayli, Clay, Garret and wife Claudia with great-grandchild Olivia.
Viewing will be held at Greenlawn Mortuary 3700 River Boulevard, Bakersfield, on Tuesday and Wednesday August 29-30 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. He will receive military rites and internment Thursday August 31st, 11:00 a.m. at Greenlawn Memorial Park, River Boulevard. The primary service is a memorial Friday, September 1, 10:00 a.m. at the Taft United Methodist Church, 630 North Street. A celebration of life will follow at OT’s Cookhouse.
In lieu of flowers, donations should be sent to Taft Methodist Church, 630 North St.