“Miles Edmiston Twaddel Il-Commander USN (Ret.), 94, of Hughson, Ca., passed away of natural causes June 30, 2020 at Samaritan Village. He and his wife Rita had moved from Turlock, where they had resided since 1971, to Samaritan Village in November, 2019.
Born October 18, 1925, in Braddock, Pennsylvania, Miles was the son of Miles Edmiston, an employee of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and Estelle Gates Twaddell, a housewife. The day after graduation from Braddock High, at age 17, Miles enlisted in the United States Navy. He attended the Navy’s Officers’ Aviation Candidate Program, and earned his commission and aviator’s wings in May, 1946. He and Rita were married May 21, 1948, and raised four children in his dozen or so posts. Miles spent 23 years as a Naval aviator, flying from aircraft carriers, South Pacific land-based squadrons, and areas of mainland United States. Flying Navy multi-engine transport aircraft, Miles participated in the little-known Operation Safe Haven, a series of flights taking Hungarian refugees to safety after the unsuccessful 1956 Hungarian anti-Soviet revolt. In May 1961, Miles was officer-in-charge of flight deck operations on the USS Lake Champlain, which secured Mercury 7 astronaut Alan Shepard and his Freedom 7 space capsule. During his Naval career, Miles completed his graduate and post-graduate education, receiving a B.S. degree in Management from The Ohio State University in 1959, and a master’s degree from the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Ca., in 1962. He also served in various staff and training commands, including positions with NATO at NAS Keflavik, Iceland, the Naval Air Training Command in Pensacola, FL and Curricular Officer at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. As a Naval Aviator, Miles was rated on every kind of fixed-wing aircraft in the Navy’s inventory, as well as lighter-than-air blimps and helicopters. Miles retired as a Commander in 1968, after accumulating approximately 10,000 flight hours.
Following his retirement, Miles began a second career, first at the data Processing Center at Ferris State College in Big Rapids, MI, (1969-1971) and then as Director of Information Research for California State University, Stanislaus (1971-1990). He was an avid reader, traveler, San Francisco 49’ers fan, bread baker, stained glass window artist and golfer. He and his wife Rita became experienced world travelers. They journeyed extensively throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. He was also a member of Rotary, Turlock Country Club, STARS Citizen Volunteers In Patrol through the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, and a retired Navy officers’ group. They were also active members of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Turlock, California.
Miles was preceded in death by both parents, his sister Dorothy, also of Braddock, Pennsylvania, and his loving wife Rita, (December 12, 2019). He is survived by four children: Miles Twaddell (Jo) of Los Lunas, NM, Karen Twaddell, of Tustin, CA, William Twaddell of Japan and Marita Della Rosa (Robert) of Salinas, CA. Miles and Rita had ten grandchildren: Colleen Ausmus (Matthew) of Santa Ana, CA, Christopher Anderson, Salinas, CA, Benjamin Della Rosa of Sacramento, CA, Erin Estrada (Daniel) of Salinas, CA, Miles’ children: Beth, Miles Patrick, Katie and Nora, and William’s children, Andrew and Libby Blossom. Miles and Rita had nine great-grandchildren.
Miles’ ashes will be interred next to Rita’s at City of Monterey Cemetery in Monterey, CA, along with a small private ceremony to be held at a later date.
“Lord guard and guide the men who fly through the great spaces in the sky. Be with them always in the air,”
Through darkening storm or sunlight fair. Oh hear us when we lift our prayer, for those in peril in the air.”
Navy Hymn “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” verse - Mary C.D. Hamilton (1915), original words by English poet William Whiting (1860)” 925 0/18/1925