Lavern Miller

Alumni Relations Staff

      Lavern Miller, Lavern "Lee" Miller, 84, died Friday, January 25, 2013, at his home after a lengthy illness. He was born on August 28, 1928, in Manchester, Iowa, to Harvey and Mildred Lee Miller.  He graduated from Manchester High School in 1946 and immediately enlisted in the Navy, where he served until 1949.  That fall he entered the Iowa State Teachers College (UNI), where he met his future wife.  He married Donnabelle Beatty on June 7, 1953, in Des Moines, Iowa. Lee taught high school physics and electronics in Muscatine, Iowa, for two years before leaving the field of education for business.  He joined Simpson Furniture in 1955, and was a partner there until 1971.  At that time he became the director of Alumni and Development at the University of Northern Iowa. Lee's determination and drive led to the raising of seven million dollars in private funds to complete the UNI-Dome in 1976.  He initiated the Parent's Association and the Student Association at UNI.  During that time Mr. Miller was also a lobbyist to the Iowa Legislature on behalf of the university.  He spent the last seven years of his career as the President of the Cedar Falls Chamber of Commerce. Lee's commitment to the community was evident from his service on the Cedar Falls City Council for ten years and his lifetime membership serving the Lions Club.  He also served on several boards, including Exceptional Persons, the MS Board, Sturgis Falls Celebration Board, and many other community organizations.  Lee was a longtime member and promoter of the UNI Athletic Club. In 2010 Lee was honored by being inducted into the UNI Athletics Hall of Fame for his half century of contributions to the University. He is survived by his wife Donnabelle, four children; Lynn (Ken) Trautmann, Mark Miller (Grace Boatright), Amy Miller (Thomas Sullivan,) and Matt (Laura) Miller; twelve grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.  He was preceded in death by his father and mother; and only sister Mary Lee Miller. Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Tuesday, January 29, 2013, at Prairie Lakes Church in Cedar Falls.  Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, January 28, at Richardson Funeral Service in Cedar Falls and also one hour prior to the service at church.  Private family interment will be prior to services at Fairview Cemetery in Cedar Falls.  Military Honors provided by AMVETS post No. 49. Memorials may be directed to Cedar Valley Hospice. The family is eternally thankful for their tireless efforts in easing the hardships of losing a loved one. Copyright Waterloo Courier on-line edition; downloaded January 29, 2013.