vance c. miller

Vance C. Miller 1933-2013 was born Oct. 19, 1933 in Seminole, OK,

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, extraordinary

mental toughness and uncanny ability to pick great real estate.

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

family business in 1959 after serving as a fighter pilot in the U.S.

Air Force, he 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. By 1981, the company

became the largest real estate brokerage firm in Texas and the 7th

largest in the nation. Vance and Henry sold the Henry S. Miller

Company in 1983 to Grubb & Ellis. In 1982 he formed Vance C.

Miller Interests and developed several million square feet of real

estate projects. His oldest surviving son, Vaughn E. Miller, joined

him at Vance C. Miller Interests in 1986. They worked together for 28 years and re-built the Henry S. Miller commercial real estate brand and developed millions of commercial property.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, “Vance was a patriot, successful businessman and selfless philanthropist whose entrepreneurial spirit and love of freedom helped put Dallas, and our state, on the path to success. While he may not have been born here, he was a proud Texan, and I was honored to have called him my friend." 

Vance 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, he joined his father Henry S. Miller Jr and together they built one of the largest and most respected real estate firms in the U.S.  Vance and his family have given generously to Dallas and beyond, contributing to the performing arts and numerous charities.

An avid golfer, he 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 version 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 die.”

Vance served on the Board of Directors of numerous public companies and financial institutions.

Past National President, Institute of Real Estate Management, 1974

Past Chairman, Private Industry Council, City of Dallas, 1978

Past Chairman by Presidential Appointment, National Alliance of Businessmen, Dallas, 1980

Past Director, National Association of Realtors, 1982 - 1990

Past Director by Presidential Appointment, Federal National Mortgage Association, 1986-1989

Director, Pilgrims Pride Corporation

Past Director, North Dallas Chamber of Commerce

Past Director, Budget Finance Committee, United Way of Dallas

Past Director, Dallas Metro YMCA


MILLER HELPED SHAPE DALLAS - A Dallas Morning News Letter

Publicly and privately, local real estate mogul and political donor Vance Miller mentored, employed, financed, advised, groomed and sent forth people to realize their dreams either in private enterprise or political life...Dallas has seen spectacular growth in the last 30 years. Miller developed much of the area. People moved here, opened businesses and employed others, and their success stories can be tied to this Dallas legend’s vision, as well.

- James C. Hairston, University Park

Copyright. VCM Commercial Real Estate Fund. All Right Reserved.

Vance's Proverbs

"Let the bird fly."

"Curse note the crocodile until you cross the stream."

"Eagles don't flock, they must be found one at a time."