Monday, August 29, 2011

Grant D. Miller (1863-1945) - Mortuary owner; County Coroner; EBMUD Founder

Grant D. Miller (Photo of crypt by Michael Colbruno)
MAIN MAUSOLEUM, SEC. 9, Tier 1, Crypt 420

Grant D. Miller was a well-known undertaker in Oakland, where a funeral home still bears his name. He was elected the Alameda County Coroner in 1914,  narrowly defeating incumbent Dr. Charles Tisdale. Miller served for 24 years until his voluntary retirement.  

He was born in Amador County, California on November 24, 1863 to David and Julia (Hinkson) Miller.  In 1879, he moved to San Francisco, where he attended the Pacific Business College. After graduating, he was hired as clerk by Wells Fargo where he worked for two years. He moved to Mariposa, California in 1882 and worked as the secretary of the Compromise Mining Company for two years, at which time he rejoined his father in worked on the family farm.

Just before the turn of the 20th century he arrived in Oakland and opened his funeral home.  Besides his service as the Alameda County Coroner, Miller was instrumental in founding the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EMBUD) in 1923 and served on its board until 1943, when he resigned because of poor health. He was also a founder of the Oakland Community Chest and the Eastbay Safety Council. 

He requested a simple funeral and that his pallbearers were all past and present employees of his mortuary. 

The original mortuary was located at 2372 East 14th Street and remained there until 1978. It is currently called the Grant Miller-John Cox Mortuary and is located at 2850 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. 

 Above is a picture of the current mortuary as it appeared when it was built 1896 and  as it appeared in 2009. The building was redesigned in 1931 by architects Chester Miller and Carl Warnecke. Note the four windows that can be seen in both pictures.

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