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Remembering Vance Miller, CEO of Henry S. Miller Cos.

Vance C. Miller

As RealPoints reported on Saturday, the Dallas-Fort Worth commercial real estate community lost a longtime leader this weekend following the unexpected death Vance Miller, chairman and CEO of Henry S. Miller Cos. Miller died early Saturday morning following a heart attack.

The family has announced that services will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28 Highland Park Presbyterian Church, followed by a reception at the church. A private graveside service will take place beforehand at Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home for invited guests. Additional information can be found here.

Industry leaders praised the contributions Vance Miller has made to the Dallas commercial real estate market.

“It’s always difficult to lose a leader in our commercial real estate industry,” said Herbert D. Weitzman, chairman and CEO of The Weitzman Group and Cencor Realty Services. “As a part of the wonderful Miller company for many years, I express my condolences to Vance’s family. The Miller company has been an institution for nearly 100 years, and Vance’s leadership was a big part of its success.”

Greg Miller
Vaughn Miller

Roger Staubach, executive chairman, Americas, at Jones Lang LaSalle, said  Henry Miller, Jr. and Vance Miller were instrumental in helping to start his real estate career. “They were great mentors and we developed a strong friendship over the years,” he said. “My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Miller family.”

Wayne Swearingen, longtime Dallas real estate executive and principal at Glacier Commercial Realty, said he first met Vance Miller in 1955. “I was at Baylor and he was at SMU; we were both colonels of our ROTC corps,” Swearingen said. “Then we all went into the Air Force and I didn’t see him again until I joined the Miller company in 1968. … Vance was always very active and influential in many areas, from development and joint ventures to land and multifamily deals. He was a leader in the business and very active in politics as well.”

For now, current leadership is in place at Henry S. Miller Cos., and business will press on, the company says. Two fourth-generation family members have leadership roles at the firm. Gregory L. Miller is president of Henry S. Miller Equity Partners, and Vaughn Miller is president of the retail division of Henry S. Miller Brokerage. Both are Vance’s sons.

UPDATE: Here is a statement from The Henry S. Miller Cos.:

We Say Goodbye to a Prominent Real Estate Mogul and Philathropist, Vance Charles Miller

Vance Miller, left, with his grandfather, Henry S. Miller Sr. (seated), and his father, Henry S. Miller Jr., in 1962.

DALLAS, TX – – Monday, February 25, 2013 – – Miller, Vance C., 79, died from cardiac arrest Feb. 23 in Dallas. Born Oct. 19, 1933 in Seminole, Okla., he grew up mostly in Dallas but never forgot his childhood experiences in the Depression-era, on the fringes of the dustbowl. Known to the public as a prominent real estate mogul and philanthropist, family members and friends knew him as an eternal optimist with an enduring sense of humor and extraordinary mental toughness.

The son of Juanita and Henry S. Miller Jr., Vance was chairman and chief executive of Henry S. Miller Co., the real estate business his grandfather launched in 1914. He joined the business in 1959, became president in 1970, and along with his father, grew the company to become one of the pre-eminent regional real estate powerhouses in Texas and the USA.

He was especially proud of his service as a Lieutenant in the Air Force as a jet fighter pilot during the ”Cold War” years and briefly considered pursuing a career in the military. Instead, he remained in the U.S. Air Force Reserves for several years and joined his father and grandfather in the family business.

He graduated from Highland Park High School and earned a B.B.A. from Southern Methodist University in 1956 after meeting his wife there, Geraldine “Tincy” Erwin. He often reminded her that from the moment he spotted her crossing the campus in bobby sox and jeans, he knew she was the gal he would marry. Their marriage spanned over 56 years, enduring the heartache of losing their son, and the challenges of both good times and bad. Together they have given generously of their combined talents to Dallas and beyond, contributing to the performing arts and numerous charities.

An avid golfer, Vance was a founding member of Preston Trail Golf Club, and later enjoyed developing the golf courses at family-owned Prestonwood Country Club. Together with his father, they reinvigorated Highland Park Shopping Center, but his larger vision was tied to his belief in the potential of Dallas, as he foresaw the explosive growth the city would subsequently experience.

He incorporated a favorite Rotary Club quote onto a two-sided plaque that sat on his desk: “Is it Fair and Just?” read one side, and, reflecting his dry wit, he added to the other side “Thou Shalt Not Whine”. He was famous for many quotable and often wry bits of advice cherished by friends, family and associates, such as “Curse not the crocodile until you have crossed the river” or “If you’re going to be a gunfighter, you’ve got to be willing to get shot.”

Vance spent over 50 years developing the fortunes of the Henry S. Miller Company, helping to ensure that the name endured, and was looking forward to the company’s 100th anniversary in January 2014. His company won many awards for “Best Companies to Work For,” a testament to his style of leadership. He mentored many luminaries in today’s Dallas real estate community and his leadership will be missed, both in his family and business. He loved his family, friends, and country in an unconditional manner.

He is survived by his wife “Tincy”; daughter Cynthia Vance-Abrams and her husband Bob Abrams; son Vaughn E. Miller and his wife Dena; son Gregory and his wife Kim; eight grandchildren: Nathaniel Abrams, Penny, Vaughn, Lance, Vance Calvin and Gigi Miller, Wes and Wyatt Miller. He is also survived by his sister Patsy Miller Donosky (whose late husband was David Donosky); brother Henry S. Miller III; sister Jacqueline Miller Stewart and her husband Peter B. Stewart; aunt Dr. Carmen Miller Michael and her husband, Dr. Ludwig A. Michael; cousin Henry Lewis; and a large, beloved extended family. He is pre-deceased by his son Vance Charles Miller Jr. (1958-1997).

Services will be held on Thurs., Feb. 28, at 3 pm at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, 3821 University Blvd., Dallas, TX 75205, followed by a reception at the church. A private graveside service will take place beforehand. The family will welcome visitors on Wed., Feb. 27, from 5 to 8 pm at Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home, 7405 W. Northwest Hwy, Dallas.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Dallas Opera; Dallas Symphony Orchestra; UT Southwestern University Hospital-St. Paul; L.I.F.T.; or the Crystal Charity Ball. Online condolences can be made at www.Sparkman-Hillcrest.com.

About Henry S. Miller Brokerage, LLC

Dallas-based Henry S. Miller Brokerage, LLC is one of Texas’ largest independent full service commercial real estate firms, with five offices in Texas. Established in 1914, Henry S. Miller is one of the oldest and most respected companies in Texas and has gained a reputation for service and integrity that is unequaled in the industry. Henry S. Miller Brokerage is a member of Realty Resources Network, one of the largest affiliations of commercial real estate firms in the nation.  Visit HSM online for more information www.henrysmiller.com .

Photos courtesy of Henry S. Miller Cos.

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One comment on “Remembering Vance Miller, CEO of Henry S. Miller Cos.

  1. May God’s blessing be with “Tincy” and the entire Miller family. Their comfort will be found in His love. Their solace will come with the passage of time from which the pain fo grief will move from sorrow to the cherished memories of the loved and lost.

    George M. Clayton

    Reply

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