Giles Miller, MD
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No Longer Standing
As the still upright members of the Sons of the Shake can attest, San Francisco has lost a native son and true pioneer. Giles Miller, MD, died peacefully in his home in San Mateo, Saturday July 27, 2013.
He was born July 15, 1932 at St. Mary's Hospital to parents J. Giles Miller (civil engineering graduate of St. Mary's College, Superintendant with Barrett & Hilp, who surveyed and supervised the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge) and Margaret Doran Miller (who taught the students of San Francisco Unified for over 40 years). Both the Miller and Doran families contributed to the pageantry of early California and San Francisco. Giles' great grandfather Joseph Miller was a member of the Society of California Pioneers, men whose arrival in CA predated 1849. His progeny went on to reshape the landscape of the Sacramento valley and delta. J. Giles' brother, George, was a much respected Assemblyman for CA, moving on to represent Alameda County in the US Congress. Giles's mother, Margaret, rode out the 1906 earthquake in her family's home on 20th and Diamond St. Margaret's family included such early San Francisco luminaries as Captain Peter Doran and Poet/Newspaperman Daniel E. Doran.
Giles grew up on 22st Avenue in Merced Manor, in the home that J. Giles and Margaret built. He was baptized at St. Emydius, graduated in 1946 from Most Holy Redeemer School, and from St. Ignatius High School with honors in 1950. He embarked on four fabulous years at Saint Mary's College, which held a special place in his heart as the alma mater of his father, father-in-law, and numerous uncles. Giles found lifelong friends in the SMC class of 1954, who would support each other across the decades. His love for and relationship with the college also proved a constant. He became a dedicated and generous alumnus, proud to serve in the following roles: President of the Alumni Association 1971-1972, Board of Regents 1976–1994, President of Regents 1992-1994, 1993 Elected to Board of Trustees, and was named Alumnus of the Year in 1994.
Upon graduating from SMC, Giles began his career in medicine at St. Louis University's Medical School, St. Louis, MO. He rose to the top of his class both academically and socially, before return to San Francisco's St. Mary's Hospital for residency in 1959. During his residency, Giles met a "very attractive" red headed nurse, whose father just happened to have played for Saint Mary's College's fabled football coach, Slip Madigan. This red head, Judy Bodine, soon became his wife and lifelong love. They married November 25, 1961.
Giles and Judy began their life together in Oceanside, where Giles was stationed as a Medical Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. There they welcomed their first 2 children, Giles Jr. and Michelle. Giles, promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 1964, continued to serve as a reservist while he furthered his medical training. Giles was accepted into the Fellowship Program in Cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. While in OH, they welcomed daughter Martina. The two year program provided the advanced medical training for Giles to return to St. Mary's Hospital in 1966 and begin his rise among the nation's elite Cardiologists.
Giles and Judy moved their growing family to Merced Manor, blocks from where he grew up, and settled into life in St. Stephen Parish. There they added Norelisa, Matthew, and Melinda to the brood. While putting the 6 children through St. Stephen School, Giles served on both the Parish Board and the School Board. Active in the Merced Manor Property Owners Association, he served as President in 1977. The St. Stephen's parish became quite literally a second family to Giles, Judy, and all the little Millers. Like his mother before him, Giles packed up his progeny every summer and, with parish friends, took the annual trip to Camp Mather. Vacations for Giles often included the Sierras and a fishing pole. There was always a reason to celebrate at the Millers, whether graduations, St. Patrick's Day, 4th of July, or the neighborhood Christmas party with Santa in his red track suit. The Miller home on Ocean Avenue was an (in)famous site for wonderful parties accompanied by the player piano and joyful voices. Indeed, the whole neighborhood turned out to "celebrate" and mourn the departure when Giles and Judy made the decision to move to the Peninsula in 1986.
Giles had a deep and abiding love for both the city of San Francisco and his native state. He was a member of the Society of California Pioneers from 1967, a 50 year member of the Olympic Club, and an original member of the United Irish Cultural Center. This love of history drove him and his buddy, Bob Buckley, to create the Sons of the Shake in 1974. Originally a fraternal organization, SOTS membership is limited to native sons, and now daughters, of San Francisco who can trace their lineage to survivors of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. These hardy souls met (and continue to meet annually) on the hour and date of the great quake to commemorate, commiserate and to hydrate.
Giles' professional career at St. Mary's Hospital was marked by honors and achievements. His practice, like his life, was imbued with warmth, humor and compassion. His partnerships with Drs. Gerd Struver, John Chin, Remo Morelli and Richard Podolin, and his association with Dr. Elias Hanna, noted cardiac surgeon, helped pioneer advances in the field of internal medicine and cardiac health. He brought cardiac catheterization to San Francisco, and founded the hospital's cardiac cath lab. In 1979, Giles, a Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine, was elected a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. In 1983 he was inducted into the international Society for Cardiac Angiography. Giles concluded his career as the Chair of the Department of Cardiology for St. Mary's in 2000.
Giles is survived by his loving wife Judy; children Giles Jr., Michelle Jordan (Kent), Martina "Bunny" Miller-Fowley (John), Norelisa Gonzales (Mark), Mathew (Tanya), and Melinda Sciandri (Ron); grandchildren Connor, Garrett, Kiera, Allison, Nathan, Max, Jillian, Dory and Grace. He is also survived by his devoted brother Michael (Nancy), and legion of other family and friends.
Services: Rosary, Wed. 7/31, 7:00 PM, St. Stephen Church, 451 Eucalyptus Dr.; Mass of the Resurrection, Thurs., 8/1, 10:00 AM, St. Ignatius Church, 630 Parker Ave., additional parking available at the Koret Center, USF; Private internment Friday at Holy Cross Cemetery, Colma. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to: Saint Mary's College, Moraga, St. Mary's Hospital, San Francisco, or St. Catherine Church, Burlingame.
Duggan's Serra Mortuary
500 Westlake Avenue Daly City, CA 94014
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on July 29, 2013