Miles Treaster, a colorful business owner who was a leader in the interior design industry, died Nov. 9 of a possible heart attack, his family said. He was 74.
Mr. Treaster was a pillar of the Sacramento business community as president of a company co-founded by his father in 1958. He retired in 2006 from Miles Treaster & Associates, a West Sacramento-based studio that designs interiors, sells high-end furniture and plans relocations for commercial clients, including many of the oldest and biggest businesses in the region.
He took over in 1972 and grew MTA to be the largest Central Valley distributor of Herman Miller Furniture, a noted line of contemporary office furnishings. He oversaw a warehouse expansion and opened a second studio location in Roseville in 2005.
"He provided hundreds of opportunities over the decades for personal growth and development," said Therese Kingsbury, MTA president and chief executive officer. "His employees adored him."
Mr. Treaster supported the arts, environmental causes and charities as a philanthropist and volunteer. He was active in the YMCA and the Sacramento and West Sacramento chambers of commerce, and he served on the boards of the Sacramento Tree Foundation, Valley Vision and WEAVE. He was a generous patron of the Boys and Girls Club of Sacramento and the Crocker Art Museum.
Despite his standing in the community as a business leader, Mr. Treaster was a quirky guy with a playful manner. His fashion style included eye-catching ties and Hawaiian print shirts. His eyes twinkled behind eyeglasses with thick lenses, and he stepped out on the town in one of his 30 fedoras that were topped with bright feathers and custom made in San Francisco.
He enjoyed trying new restaurants, taking day trips to the Amador County wine country and traveling in the United States and Europe. A convivial man who knew many people, he surrounded himself with artists and lunched regularly with longtime friends at the exclusive Sutter Club.
"One of his favorite things to do at the Sutter, as one of the few Democrats there, was to get into political debates," said his daughter, Eileen Whitfield. "He saved the Friday after the election on his calendar so that he could go down there and gloat about how his side won."
Miles James Treaster was born in Sacramento in 1938 to Lorene Waggoner and Miles LaMar Treaster. He graduated from McClatchy High School and earned a bachelor's degree in design from UC Berkeley.
He served in the Marine Corps, taught at Sacramento City College and worked for a furniture company before joining his father's firm during the 1960s.
He had two children during a 15-year marriage to Jean Treaster that ended in divorce. He lived downtown near the Crocker Art Museum, where he donated his personal art collection and was a frequent visitor.
"He was extremely eccentric," his daughter said. "A lot of his success in business was that he was very honest and true to himself. He didn't lie. That's who he was."