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Miles Morton Rankin

Miles Morton Rankin
October 2, 1920 -February 12, 2013
Resident of Los Gatos
Miles was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1920. The family home was in Flatbush. He is survived by his companion of 23 years, Rita Boren, his sister, Lenore Sanford, nephews Peter and Jon Sanford and 3 grand nieces, Alisa and Joanna Sanford and Errica Eaton. Miles "home" has been his friends and the City of Saratoga. Think of Miles up at his house on Canon Drive tending his gardens, the pool and garden room#8212;his back yard. Miles front yard was Big Basin Way in Saratoga! Just how Miles got to Saratoga is an interesting story. He went to Erasmus High School, NYU and Harvard. Given that his family had just lived through the great depression that all seems pretty amazing. He has told of working in his Uncles sporting goods store in "uptown" Manhattan, running down Broadway grabbing a sandwich from a deli, and eating it on his way to night classes. In a few years he earned a business degree from NYU and went to Harvard. World War II was in its infancy. Harvard created an officer's supply school within its MBA program and Miles transferred to that program.
At quite a young age he joined the military as a Navy officer and boarded his first ship in Bremerton, Washington. Miles Navy career remained the most important in shaping his life and influencing his way of looking at and living life. His ship, the St. Lo, was in the Pacific in the Battle of Leyte Gulf-the last and largest sea battle in the war. The St. Lo was the first ship sunk by a Kamikaze pilot. The ship went down with 1000 men on board, about half of which survived. He swam with the aid of a life belt for several hours before he was rescued. The US victory in the Battle of Leyte Gulf was the turning point in World War 11 and an instrumental part of our victory.
Following his active duty in the Navy, Miles joined the naval reserve. He was called back to active duty in the Korean War and was active in the naval reserve until he was retired at age sixty five. Commander Rankin still carries an active Navy ID card with an indefinite expiration date. He was extremely proud of his time in serving his country. With a degree in business, Miles duties with the Navy were business related. On the St. Lo he was the Paymaster. In other stations he ran Post Exchanges. He is extremely loyal to his country and the American Flag. In recent years tears were in his eyes when he heard "America the Beautiful" . His experiences in the Navy forever changed his way at looking at life. It is easy to understand that after those experiences life was good.
You never heard Miles say a bad word about anybody. When asked about how did he get so even tempered and accepting of whatever life hands him, his answer was simply that at about age 35 he just decided that was how he was going to be#8212;and it is how he really was. He absolutely respected all other people and their right to be whoever they are. It is amazing how very knowledgeable Miles was about almost everything, and understanding and forgiving of most things. Talking about other people was just not what Miles did, unless it was to praise them.
A retired Real Estate Broker with his office on Big Basin Way in Saratoga, it is well known how much the City of Saratoga meant to Miles. Among his souvenirs are a lot of newspaper clippings#8212;one after another picturing Miles giving or doing something in the town. He was instrumental in the forming of the Chamber of Commerce and the president for 2 terms. He has been active in Rotary, served as its president in 1972-73, and sponsored a very large number of other members in the club. He was a member of the Saratoga Men's Club. One of the things that Miles was most proud of is moving (with the help of his Rotary club) a couple of historic houses to the spot on Saratoga-Los Gatos Road where they are now home to the Saratoga History Museum. He brokered the City's purchase of Hakone Gardens, and was active in the Good Government Group. Miles was president of the Los Gatos Saratoga Branch of the American Red Cross. He co-founded the Valley Institute of Theater Arts. Miles was president of the Board of Realtors and remained an honorary member following his retirement. He enjoyed attending Board functions into his 90's. Upon his retirement a longtime colleague wrote an article for the Realtors newsletter titled "On the Shoulders of Giants" praising Miles for his contributions to the real estate industry and crediting him for advancing and protecting property rights. When Miles retired in 2006, the Saratoga News interviewed him and the heading on their story was "Mr. Saratoga". Miles truly loved Saratoga. Most recently Miles generously contributed to the Saratoga Foothill club by funding the restoration of the gardens, a fitting legacy gift.
Miles traveled the world in his navy career, and continued his travels to Europe and faraway places with his deceased wife Juliette. Miles and Rita, his companion the past 23 years, continued his love of travel and together they have travelled to many of the countries in the world. The memories are rich and rewarding. Miles loved classical music and his season subscription to Symphony Silicon Valley. Among his favorite things to do was a trip to Half Moon Bay, a drive down the coast to Santa Cruz and dinner somewhere along the way with a view of the ocean. Miles liked people and people liked Miles. His philosophy was "do no harm" on your path through life and do what good you can. Talk about ideas, not people or things. Maintain an interest in the entire world around you. Be loyal to your country. Enjoy life. Miles was blessed with a long life and left this world peacefully. Goodbye Milesee!

Miles celebration of life will be at the Saratoga Foothill Club in the spring. Miles would appreciate gifts in lieu of flowers to the Saratoga Foothill Club Arbor Restoration Fund or Symphony Silicon Valley.

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Funeral Home

Darling Fischer Chapel of the Hills
615 North Santa Cruz Avenue Los Gatos, CA 95030
(408) 354-7740

Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Feb. 17, 2013
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