George Christopher Miladin, born January 19, 1935, in Long Beach, CA, went to be with the Lord at his home in La Mesa, CA, on July 2, 2023, after a short illness with a malignant brain tumor. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Londa, son Christopher (Cheryl) Miladin, daughter Jennifer (Bob) Cordell, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his brother, Jimmy. A memorial service will be held on August 12 at 3p.m. at New Life Presbyterian Church of La Mesa, 5333 Lake Murray Blvd., La Mesa, CA. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Miladin Memorial Fund. Gifts can be made by check & via online at www.newlifelamesa.org
The testimony of George’s life is God’s sovereign grace transforming a self-seeking nightclub piano player into a grateful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. His piano career started at age 5 when his mother discovered he had perfect pitch. By age 12, he was playing the heavy classics but changed to playing the trumpet in high school. Ages 12 to 20 were spent in rebellion – no more piano, no more Sunday School, and no more thinking about God. He excelled at trumpet, playing a brief stint with the Lawrence Welk band at the Aragon Ballroom and spending most of a summer at the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan, where he contracted pneumonia. Unable to practice trumpet, he lost his embouchure, which brought him back to the piano. George shifted gears to popular music, practicing two hours every day. By night, he performed in night clubs and piano bars in Hollywood and Beverly Hills and, by day, attended UCLA. When George was 19, he met Johnny Grant, a local Hollywood disc jockey, who invited him to join his band to travel overseas and entertain U.S. troops. This opportunity took him to Japan, Korea, and Europe as Musical Director of Grant’s overseas shows.
After returning to Los Angeles, he continued at UCLA, majoring in Music and minoring in History. During these years, God used two events in his life to draw George to Himself. When a young starlet George accompanied attempted suicide, he was affected deeply and began to think of the reality of eternity. Then, God sent a young Christian to invite George to study the Gospel of John and attend University Bible Church. After several months, George bowed the knee to Jesus as his Savior. He began playing piano for the worship services. It was at UBC that George met Londa, and they married in 1958. George taught 8th grade music and Boys’ Chorus for two years, while they lived in Santa Monica. Following that, they moved to St. Louis, MO, where he taught Music Theory at Covenant College.
In 1965, Londa convinced George that, even with two small children, they could handle his attending theological seminary. George enrolled at Covenant Seminary and, upon graduating, was ordained and called as Church Planter of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Woodland Hills, CA. The Miladins moved back east, when George accepted a call as pastor of the church at Covenant College back in Lookout Mountain, GA. In 1977, Point Loma Orthodox Presbyterian Church, now New Life Presbyterian Church of La Mesa (PCA), was searching for a pastor and believed George was just the man for the job, enticing him to accept the call with a large manila envelope full of menus from Mexican restaurants around San Diego. The Miladin family arrived in San Diego January 1, 1978, and George immediately set his sights toward outreach and evangelism. No one would describe George as an extrovert, but he was for the Gospel. God used him mightily to spread the Good News: knocking on doors, planning outreach events, playing concerts, etc. He loved to tell the story of his Savior and regularly turned casual conversation to the Lord. He faithfully pastored his flock at New Life for over 27 years, until his retirement in October 2005.
In the years following, after a brief call as a church planter in the mountains east of San Diego, he grew into his role as “Pastor to All.” He particularly enjoyed teaching and preaching on the Gospel of John and the books of Hebrews and Romans. Over the years, he pastored, baptized, married, and taught hundreds of people who remained near and dear to him. He authored several books on Reformed faith and life, one of which has been translated to Spanish. Thousands of copies have been used to train Spanish-speaking Reformed ministers.
George became known as “the piano playing pastor” and combined his progressive jazz style of piano playing with sacred hymns and arranged and recorded four albums. He also developed an instructional piano course called “See and Hear Piano Series" which has taught hundreds of pianists to play professional sounding arrangements of pop ballads and Christian hymns. One highlight was being sought out by RC Sproul at a conference to help RC with his piano playing. He has given dozens of “Pianistic Pilgrim’s Progress” and “Listen to Love” concerts, weaving his musical journey into his Christian testimony. He played piano weekly at New Life until his final Sunday in worship, desiring to bring glory to God who had been so gracious to him. George always wanted to live to see 88 years, as that was the number of keys on a piano, and the Lord honored that hope. He even took him home on the Lord’s Day, George’s favorite day of every week.
Books by George Miladin:
Is This Really the End? A Reformed Analysis of The Late Great Planet Earth (1972)
The Reformed Faith for the World Today and Tomorrow (1974)
Getting It Together in the Home: A How to Do It Manual on Family Devotions (1975)
Revolution, Martyrdom, Flight and Reconstruction: A Timely Study of Today's Christians and Their Relationship to the "Powers that Be" (1976)
Knowing and Growing: A 5-Part Study Manual for New (and Old) Believers
Personal Evangelism Made Less Difficult (1995)
La Fe Reformada (The Reformed Faith)
Quotes about George Miladin:
"I love the music of George Miladin. His music has a signature quality to it by which I can recognize it instantly. His artistry is a delight to the ear and has the power to pierce the soul." ~ R.C. Sproul
"George Miladin - an inspiring and virtuoso artist of the keyboard - the Roger Williams of sacred music". ~ D. James Kennedy