Rick Miller
YEARS OF DEDICATION - Rick Miller was chosen as the Grand Marshal of the Los Gatos Children’s Christmas/Holidays Parade, set for Dec. 2 in downtown Los Gatos. (Photo by Carol Musser)

Rick Miller will be wearing two hats Dec. 2 because he’s doing double duty that day: He’s the chairman of the 67th annual Los Gatos Children’s Christmas/Holidays Parade, plus he’s the parade’s Grand Marshal.

Miller has been the parade chairman since 2013, working on the parade since joining the Los Gatos Lions Club in 1978.

Although Miller serves on the committee that chooses the Grand Marshal, he bowed out of this year’s decision-making process.

“I was a little uncomfortable with accepting the nomination because there are so many deserving people, but I’m 75 years old so I figured I’d accept it because I might not be asked again,” he said. “This is also a great way to celebrate my family.” 

He plans to have his grandchildren riding in the Grand Marshal’s vehicle with him.

“My whole family will be working the parade as usual, including my niece Nicole, who’s been coming to the parade since she was little,” Miller said. “My son-in law, Thomas DeMeo, drives the truck that pulls Santa’s sleigh.”

The Miller family has a long history in Los Gatos.

“I grew up in Los Gatos and my mom was a member of the Los Gatos High School class of 1948,” he said. “I went to Daves Avenue elementary, then we moved away. But I came back and, as a result, my daughter Sharon was a member of the LGHS class of ’86, my son Ritchie graduated in 1990, granddaughter Lucia is a 2018 grad and my granddaughter Bella graduated in 2020. That’s four generations.”

“You’ve got to remember that my great-grandparents and grandparents all lived in Los Gatos, so I’m a home boy,” he said. “I love Los Gatos and I love the children’s parade.” 

On parade day, Miller is downtown at 6am, making sure kids, floats, bands and horses are ready to take their places along the parade route—it’s a lot like directing a play with constantly moving parts coming from different directions.

Usually, Miller is at the corner of N. Santa Cruz and Almendra avenues, directing parade participants to begin their march down N. Santa Cruz.

He also walks the entire parade route two times.

“This year, instead of walking I get to ride,” he said. “Then I’ll come back from the high school and resume my parade duties.”

Miller estimates he puts in “hundreds of hours” planning the parade, in addition to the 80-100 volunteers who also put in countless hours.

Most of the volunteers are from the Lions Club and the Los Gatos-Saratoga Recreation Department.

On the professional side, Miller ran a Los Gatos-based family business that owned two gas stations and an auto repair shop.

He served as Chamber of Commerce president in 1987-88.

Miller was also president of the Lions Club that year, which is when he sponsored long-time friend Carol Musser to be the first woman Lions Club member.

“Rick’s selection as grand marshal is well-deserved after so many years of commitment to the community and the parade,” Musser said. 

In the early ‘90s, Miller switched gears and started a home remodeling business.

His past life also includes a three-year stint in the army.

“I worked with the security agency that’s the same as today’s NSA (National Security Agency). We did a lot of spying,” he said with a grin.

Undoubtedly, Miller will be grinning and smiling a lot on parade day, while enjoying the fruits of his labors.

The 67th annual Children’s Christmas/Holidays Parade is scheduled for Dec. 2 at 11am in downtown Los Gatos. For information, visit lgsrecreation.org/parade.

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