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David (Dave) L. Miller, 88, of Mesquite, Texas set sail for his final destination on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. He was born at Parkland Hospital in Dallas on October 22, 1930 to Leola Bertha Dalton Miller and James Arthur Miller.
He grew up in the Dallas area and following the death of his father at age 10, later moved with his mother to Galveston, Texas. At just 16, he fibbed about his age to enlist in the United States Navy where he served as an airman aboard the USS Valley Forge aircraft carrier as part of a new crew that introduced the country’s first jet fighters in 1948.
Following his honorable discharge from the Navy, he returned to Dallas where he would meet his future wife on a blind date. He and Audrey Viola Jordan were married on April 8, 1950 and following a honeymoon in Galveston, the newlyweds settled first in Dallas before moving to Arlington, Texas and later Mesquite.
After working for Schwan’s Foods and Chance Vought, he found his niche as a printing equipment technician with Harris-Seybold. In the 1970s he ventured out on his own with Dave Miller Printing Equipment Service and was widely respected around the country for his skills. Customers often refused to allow anyone but Dave to work on their equipment.
In his 40s, he returned to his boyhood love of the water and became an accomplished competitive sailer – winning numerous regattas at Captain’s Cove, Rush Creek and Chandlers Landing yacht clubs on Lake Ray Hubbard. The highlight came when he captured first place in his division at the nationally-acclaimed Dallas Race Week. He would eventually return to the Texas Gulf Coast where he sailed aboard his 36-foot boat, the Jessica Erin (named for his two granddaughters).
As time began to catch up with him, he returned to Mesquite and discovered a new passion when he began to sing with the choir at Town East Baptist Church in his 70s. He had a beautiful voice that he shared through the occasional solo and was a greeter extraordinaire as he welcomed fellow church members and visitors to Sunday morning services with a song at the door. He joined the Mesquite Reflections senior choir and also became an active member of the nationally-known Big D Chorus – an all-male barbershop ensemble. The height of his involvement came when the chorus performed at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.
His life changed forever when he suffered a stroke in his late 70s that left him reliant on others but he never lost his often bigger-than-life personality despite his physical struggles and was a source of entertainment and inspiration to others as he could often be found cruising the halls of the nursing home in his wheelchair serenading other residents and staff. He always had a sparkle in his eyes; especially when visited by family.
He is survived by his loving wife of 69 years, Audrey, as well as his children – David Wayne Miller (Pam), Russell Lee Miller, Sandra Gayle Miller Gray and Stephen Kent Miller. He is also survived by five grandchildren – Douglas Katch Gray (Anthony), Stephen Wayne Miller (Bre), Michael David Miller, Jessica Nicole Zeller and Erin Katheen Zeller – as well as a sister, Linda Jo Drysdale, and numerous nephews, nieces, great-nephews and nieces, other family and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, as well as a brother, James Arthur Miller Jr., and a sister, Helen Price.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, August 3 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Laurel Oaks Funeral Home (12649 Lake June Road in Mesquite). A memorial gathering will be held at a later date and his remains will be scattered at Lake Ray Hubbard and Galveston so that he may cross the bar and sail away one final time.