The Torch Has Been Passed

by Suzanne Calvin

Yet, the flame lives on.

The Founding President and Honorary Director of The Dallas Opera (originally Dallas Civic Opera), one of the most influential and prescient civic, art and business leaders in the history of Dallas, has passed away at the age of 95.

Henry S. Miller, Jr. died Saturday (December 5th) following a brief illness, according to this detailed report by Steve Brown in “The Dallas Morning News”.  Even if you already know the story of this extraordinary gentleman and his amazing family, it’s worth reading to remind yourself all over again that we have been singularly blessed to walk with giants: people -- like Henry S. Miller, Jr. -- who combined staggering business acumen with quiet audacity, imagination, determination, far-reaching generosity and consummate professionalism.

My betters within this company will no doubt have more eloquent things to say about Mr. Miller and his long association with the Dallas Opera; however, my own sense of sadness is both deep and genuine.  He is the last of the founders and his passing marks the end of an era for this company.

We recently solicited a comment from Mr. Miller on the occasion of our inaugural production in the new Winspear Opera House.  He wrote:

“I remember another opening night more than half a century ago.  The weather was wet and cold and the sets barely arrived in time.  The curtain parted, we settled into our seats and experienced world-class opera, created right here in Dallas, for the very first time.  I cannot be with you for this momentous celebration of this new chapter in the company’s history.  It is gratifying for me to know that the passion my late wife, Juanita, and I have felt for The Dallas Opera will live on in future generations.”

From your lips to God’s ears, Mr. Miller. 

May your family members be consoled by your many gifts and accomplishments and the proud legacy of a long life exceedingly well-lived.

And may you rest in peace.

Suzanne Calvin, Assoc. Dir. of Marketing, The Dallas Opera

One Response to The Torch Has Been Passed

Sue Harvey Harrison says: December 17, 2009 at 7:36 pm

I just learned here that we have lost Mr. Miller and followed the link to read Steve Brown’s exceptional article with its many tributes to Mr. Miller.

It was my privilege to work in Mr. Miller’s company in the late ’70s. It was amazing to see the scope of Mr. and Mrs. Miller’s influence the company’s imprint on Dallas real estate development and in civic life.

My first trip to the symphony sent me into the first few rows of the center orchestra section because Mr. Miller had generously passed along tickets they would not use to someone on the office staff.

My first trip to The Dallas Opera took me to “The Daughter of the Regiment” with Ruth Welting and Alfredo Kraus on tickets that one of Mr. Miller’s associates was unable to use and offered to office staff.

Roger Staubach rushed out of the coffee break room one day as walked in.

Mr. Miller and I walked together up the front walk to the door at the end of a work day, there was a death in the family of one of his associates, one of my bosses. We had both come by to check in with the family before heading home.

Mr. Miller was a good and gentle man, a quiet man. To be in his presence was to experience the possibility of peace and goodness.

No one who spoke with him, however, briefly will ever forget those moments. He was a treasure; we knew it; and we will miss him.

Sue Harvey Harrison