Thomas Miller (Aug. 10, 1920 – Mar. 28, 2017)
Thomas Miller, much loved Uncle Tom of Kathy Westley, Glenwood Springs, and Debbie (Jimmy) Cook, Meeker, died after a short battle with lung cancer at his home in the East Bay, San Francisco, with family by his side. He was 96. Born in Tientsin, China, Tom was raised in The British Concession and graduated from the British School System, excelling in academics, swimming, and ice hockey. Returning to the U.S. at 16, he graduated from University of California at Berkeley, majoring in Commerce and Accounting. Summers found him in Alaska counting fish as a member of Alaska Cannery Workers Union. After his father’s death in China, those summer jobs helped support his Mom and sisters and pay for his university time. He served in the Army during World War II as a tug boat Captain fighting honorably in the Battle of Atu in the Aleutian Islands.
Tom spent many years in the tuna cannery business first in Alaska and then on Pier 92 in San Francisco. He enjoyed the hard work and many challenges it brought. In 1974, Tom and several partners purchased a defunct and abandoned chocolate and fruit syrup processing plant in the Potrero District of San Francisco. General contractor, designer and builder, Tom reinvented the Lion Building originally built in 1924. He was still actively involved in Lion Enterprises at the time of his death.
Tom had 3 children, Mary, Tom, and Bob (Kathlene). They survive along with grandchildren, Dennis (Peggy), Andrew, Grant, and Grace, 3 great grandchildren, Keenan, Sidney, and Isabel all of California and niece, Karen (Dave) of Spokane, WA. In 1990 Tom married Barbara McKelvie and they enjoyed many years of boating on the “Can Do” with several trips up the West Coast to the San Juan’s and Alaska. Kathy and Debbie and their families enjoyed many exciting adventures and time at the family home in El Cerrito, CA, with Tom and Barbara. They look forward to having Barbara with them in Colorado soon. Tom had a profound knowledge and curiosity of the world and he generously shared his experiences in colorful, humorous stories. Many who loved and admired Tom for his wit, wisdom, integrity, and business sense will dearly miss him.