Herbert Talmadge Miles Jr. passed on Wednesday May 22, 2019 with his family and close friends at his bedside. “Big Herb” was a simple man with a big personality. Admired for his athletic prowess, dedication to family, intelligence, and charm, Herb inspired family and friends to be their best.
Herb was born locally in Pittsburgh, but raised alongside his brother, Clyde Miles, in Fresno by his mother Emily Kosmas. At age 15 he returned to Antioch to live with his father, Herb Miles Sr., a respected teacher at Antioch High School. While in high school this 3-sport youngster excelled in baseball and wresting – where (as team captain) he earned a place in the record books by placing first in the DVAL and second at North Coast Finals. Coming of age in Antioch, Herb developed the reputation of a gentle giant, noble fighter, dependable friend, jokester, and handsome charmer, enabling him to establish numerous long lasting friendships, and the ability to woo the future Mrs. Miles with a bashful, crooked smile and one adoring late night serenade.
Herb served active duty in the Navy from 1967-1969, followed by 2 years as a reservist. With a curious and analytic brain, Herb excelled in and graduated from Cal State Hayward in 1972. He began a career as a clinical laboratory scientist at Los Medanos Hospital and retired 40 years later while at Sutter Delta Memorial Hospital. Herb was a valued expert bacteriologist, who often provided lifesaving advice to doctors caring for critically ill patients.
Herb was surprisingly modest for a local hero shrouded in legend. His most admirable talents were only exceeded by his willingness to put in the necessary work to be the very best. How else could he - the sparring partner to Big George Foreman, a bodybuilding, lob ball slugging, Golden Gloves champ, science geek - teach his pet beagle, Bogie, how to read and write? Herb’s hard work was not limited to personal pursuits of excellence. Like his father, he was a dedicated coach and role model. Local ball players and his own children benefitted greatly from a man bold enough to build a batting cage in his own backyard, and in love with the game enough to spend an absurd – but necessary – amount of time perfecting a swing.
Father to an Antioch High Homecoming Queen, Deer Valley football star, and World Series champ, Herb was supremely proud of his children and got great joy from watching them develop into unique individuals. Although Herb came to life playing, watching and coaching sports, he greatly enjoyed relaxing at home with a glass of wine, watching Jeopardy, and devouring a delicious meal made by his wife of 50 years.
Herb is survived by his wife Fran Miles, his children Tami Pennington (Scott, and grandchildren Miles and Sienna) of Brentwood, Aaron Miles (Lauren, and grandchildren Nicole, Jackson, Donovan, and Stella) of Antioch, and Kevin Miles of San Francisco. He is also survived by his brother, Clyde Miles of Morenci, Arizona.
Friends and family are invited to a memorial service at 1pm on Sunday, June 9th, 2019 at Higgins Chapel (1310 A St, Antioch), followed by a celebration of Herb’s life at 3pm at Little Manuel’s (1509 A St, Antioch). In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Sports Legends, Antioch Historical Society (email@example.com).
North Coast Champion in Wrestling
Married his high school sweetheart 1969
Golden Gloves 1973
Sparred with George Foreman
Boxing Olympic Trials 1976
Lob Ball Home Run Hitter
Clinical Scientist for 40 years