David F. Miller
David F. Miller's vision, passion and support made the Miller Center a leader in retail education.

College mourns loss of retail executive David Miller

David F. Miller, Sr., a proud Warrington alumnus and namesake of the David F. Miller Retailing Education and Research Center, passed away Nov. 19.

He was 86 years old.

Miller (BSBA ’51) enjoyed a brilliant 37-year career at JC Penney, culminating in his appointment to President in 1979. Miller retired from JC Penney in 1990 as the company’s Chief Operating Officer and Vice Chairman.

Miller served two years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force before beginning his career with JC Penney in 1953 as a salesman in Jacksonville. He was steadily promoted—both at the store and corporate levels. He moved to the company’s regional office in Dallas in 1964 to become a Merchandise Manager, and again to the retailer’s New York office two years later. Miller was elected Vice President of JC Penney in 1974.

Miller remained active in retirement pursuing numerous entrepreneurial ventures. He created Pure Ice, a packaged ice manufacturing distribution business; and founded Climatized Self Storage, which managed climate-controlled storage units in the Southeast, with his son, David, Jr.

Miller was a longtime supporter of the College and UF. His most powerful gift was establishing an endowment in 2001—along with funding from JC Penney and the state of Florida—to support the College’s retail center. In appreciation of his support, the center was named in Miller’s honor.

Miller, who was recognized with UF’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1984, served devotedly on the College’s Business Advisory Council and the Miller Center’s Advisory Board. He was also a member of UF’s President’s Council, the university’s leadership giving society.

Miller, a passionate fan of Gator athletics and a longtime Gator Booster, was also very active in civic and charitable organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club Miller Freedom Center in Nassau County.

Miller is survived by his son, David, Jr., and daughters, Clara, Jane and Elizabeth. He was married to Gloria Parks Miller, who passed away in 2007, for 55 years.