John Gleason Miles
(March 9, 1916 - March 23, 2003)
John was born in Emmett, Idaho on March 9, 1916 to Helen and Lee Miles. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1940 with a degree in forestry. In the same year, he married his beloved wife of 56 years, Ruth Van Braak of Minneapolis, MN. They made their first home in Idaho where John spent two years with the U.S. Forest Service before taking a job as a research forester with Weyerhaeuser in Washington. After service in the Army during World War II, John operated his own sawmill near Mount St. Helen, later returning to Weyerhaeuser as managing forester. In 1957 he moved his family to Eureka to become Chief Forester for Simpson Timber Company. In 1963 he started his own consulting business; John G. Miles Company, in Eureka, and in 1971 merged into Natural Resources Management Corporation (NRM). He sold a majority interest in NRM to his staff after his retirement in 1986 but continued as chairman of its board of directors.
Throughout his career, John was active in the development of local, state and regional land use policies and public and private research in natural resource fields. He served on numerous advisory boards and commissions. He was a director of the Forest History Society, Western Forest Genetics Foundation and Redwood Region Conservation Council and was president of the Western Forestry and Conservation Association. He was appointed by Governor Reagan to the California State Air Resources Board in 1967 and re-appointed in 1971. He was a member of the U.S. Delegation to the UN/FAO World Forestry Congress in Mexico in 1985.
John served as a special lecturer in forest management at Humboldt State University and was chosen to deliver the S. J. Hall Memorial address at the University of California/Berkeley. He also served as guest lecturer at the Yale Industrial Forestry Seminar. He was a widely sought speaker on conservation and government and wrote many articles on resource management policies. He received the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement award in the Field of Forestry from the Western Forestry and Conservation Association and the U.S. Forest Service 75th Anniversary award from the United States Department of Agriculture in appreciation for significant contributions to forestry and conservation.
John was involved in his community and his church and was devoted to his family. He was a past member of the Republican Central Committee and vice chairman of the First Congressional District Committee. In 1964 he was the Republican candidate for State Senate. He was a member of the Eureka Chamber of Commerce and the California Heart Association. Following the 1964 flood, he directed the flood damage survey for the Red Cross and subsequently directed Catholic flood relief services in northwestern California. He was a past Grand Knight for Knights of Columbus and member of St. Bernard’s Parish finance and building committees.
John volunteered his services to establish timber and sawmill operations in Peru to support Fundacion Peruana para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos.
John had an appreciation for fine woods and enjoyed woodworking. In 1964 he purchased the mahogany woodwork from the old Carson Mansion at Sixth and “J” which he used to renovate his large, newly acquired home at Sonoma and “D” streets. Numerous improvement projects on this family home employed several family members during their college years. The “Big House” as it became known, was a spacious family oriented environment for the succession of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and was always open to employees and friends.
The Staff at NRM is grateful for the opportunities provided by this entrepreneur, mentor and sometimes father figure; and is dedicated to continuing his philosophy of professionalism and ethics.