Lee Miller took care of Dome and home [Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Iowa]
(Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (IA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 28--CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Sometimes "town vs. gown" frictions can develop in college communities.
Lee Miller would have none of that.
Miller, who had a long career of success and service in business and civic work in Cedar Falls and on-campus endeavors at the University of Northern Iowa, died Friday at age 84.
Miller was a partner in Simpson Furniture in downtown Cedar Falls for 16 years. He served 10 years on the Cedar Falls City Council in the 1960s and early '70s, mostly under the administration of Mayor William McKinley, when the downtown Parkade and other improvements were built.
In the 1970s he became director of alumni and alumni development at UNI and was one of the driving forces behind the fundraising then to build the UNI-Dome.
In the 1980s he became director the Cedar Valley Lakes project, as a number of recreational lakes in the area were created or expanded during dredging operations to provide fill material for the massive reconstruction of the metro highway system.
After that, Miller served several years as president of the Cedar Falls Chamber of Commerce until his retirement.
"He's been involved in many capacities in the community," said Cedar Falls Mayor Jon Crews. Miller served on the council when Crews first was elected mayor in the early 1970s and Miller ran for mayor against him once, unsuccessfully.
"We had differences of opinion, but let's put it this way: In Congress, if their disagreements were like our disagreements, we'd all be a lot better off," Crews said. "He was always very positive."
Crews said Miller will probably best be remembered for the role he played in the UNI-Dome fundraising. One of the people Miller hired at UNI was Bill Calhoun, now the university's vice president for marketing and development. Calhoun agreed with the mayor's assessment.
"Lee had a great impact on both the university and the Cedar Valley," Calhoun said. "He, Stan Sheriff (longtime UNI football coach and athletic director) and T. Wayne Davis (Conrol-o-fax principal) provided the leadership for the fundraising for the UNI-Dome campaign."
Miller "was great to work with, always very positive and really represented the university so well with our alumni and friends across the country," Calhoun said.
"He was just one of those guys who bled purple and gold," said Dee Vandeventer, a principal in the ME&V advertising and public relations firm, who also worked with Miller at UNI. "In fact, one of the last times I saw him was at a UNI basketball game." Miller was inducted into the UNI Athletics Hall of Fame for his work.
And, Vandeventer said, when Miller ran for mayor, "he ran with the idea that he wanted to do as much as he could for the city."
"His devotion to the community was shown in many ways," Calhoun said, also as a university lobbyist in Des Moines and on the lakes project. "You can see his fingerprints on a lot of great things that happened in this community."
(c)2013 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa)
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