Grant Merlin Miller
October 3, 1942 - April 14, 2018
Grant Merlin Miller was born on October 3, 1942 to Ersie and Ruth Miller in Springfield, Ohio. Grant loved people, storytelling, and everything that moved - from bicycles to race cars, airplanes and sailboats. In fact, after he was born, Grant’s father flew him home from the hospital in his plane. Grant followed his father’s love of flying and flew solo as a pilot when he was just 16 years old.
Grant attended Weslyan University in Connecticut. He began his career in Ohio as a newspaper reporter and columnist. He then became a reporter for United Press International (UPI) in Europe, covering motorsports. He later worked for a radio station in Daytona, Florida, where he started racing cars. In 1969, Grant became an Air Traffic Control Specialist, and worked at Cleveland Center in Oberlin, Ohio, where he met Barbara Lesnick, who would later become his wife. He transferred to the Oakland Center in California in 1978. In 1982, Grant changed careers and opened his first auto repair business, which would become his profession for more than 35 years.
Grant married Barbara in 1978 and they moved to Fremont, CA. Their first child, Christian was born in 1980, and their daughter Hanna was born in 1990. Grant passed his love of cars and boats on to his children.
In addition to repairing exotic and foreign luxury cars, Grant also enjoyed racing them. He was a semi-professional race car driver, a founding member of the Erie Shores Sports Car Club, and a member of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). Grant also loved to sail. He sold his Shelby Mustang, which he purchased from Carroll Shelby, to purchase his 47’ yawl, Chimera. He and Barbara and their children spent many happy days sailing and racing their boats, as well as hosting friends out on the beautiful San Francisco Bay on their boat.
In 1986, Grant was presented with the Carnegie Hero Fund Award for saving the life of a little girl from a burning car.
Grant was also well-known and much beloved as Santa Claus. For more than 20 years, Grant truly embodied the spirit of Christmas as Santa at churches, nursing homes, schools, community organizations, private gatherings, and Stanford Shopping Center.
He was also involved in his community as Past Master of Alameda Lodge #167 of the Free and Accepted Masons of the State of California and a member of First Presbyterian Church of Newark, where he enjoyed attending church to hear Barb sing in the choir and play in the bell choir.
Grant will be remembered as a loving husband, father, brother, and friend, and by all who knew him as a man with a passion for life, a huge heart, and a great sense of humor. Grant is survived by his loving wife, Barbara, their son Christian and daughter Hanna, his sister, Julia Kussmaul of Portland, Oregon and brother, Neil Miller of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Grant was predeceased by his parents, and his brother, Dr. Dane Miller.
A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Newark 35450 Newark Boulevard, Newark, CA on April 28th from 10am - 12pm. A reception and luncheon will follow at Alameda Masonic lodge #167 @ 37419 Fremont Boulevard, Fremont, CA (parking in rear of building).
Donations may be made to
KDFC classical radio -- https://www.KDFC.com or NPR -- https://www.npr.org/donations/support