Donald LeSessne Miller (162615)

A trailblazer has passed away and left a host of memories for us to cherish, including a life of accomplishments and service. Donald LeSessne Miller passed away Aug. 29. He was born Jan. 10, 1932, to Mamie Johnson and John H. Miller.

Miller’s life of service started with 20 years of military service in the U.S. Army from 1948 to 1968. While serving his country, he rose to the rank of major and earned the Legion of Merit award in his final year.

Near retirement from the Army, Miller lived in Washington, D.C. ,and returned to school. The self-discipline that he learned at home and honed in the military served him well. He earned a B.A. from the University of Maryland in 1967. Subsequently, he also completed the management development program at Harvard University School of Business.

Miller was now poised to bring his knowledge, skills and desire to excel to corporate America. Because of a recommendation from his mother, who worked at Inmont Corporation, he was hired as a special assistant to the president in human resources. Miller later worked in that same capacity at Seatrain Shipbuilding Corporation, helping to recruit African-American employees. He was then recruited to a high-ranking position as deputy assistant secretary of defense under President Richard Nixon. Miller held the position from December 1971 to January 1973, and received the Distinguished Civilian Award for his work at the Department of Defense.

From 1973 to 1978, Miller worked in academia as vice president of personnel and management at ColumbiaUniversity. He then went on to hold executive positions with a number of companies, including International Paper, Con Edison and Dow Jones & Company, where he served as vice president of employee relations from 1986 to 1996.

After his retirement from Dow Jones, Miller entered the entrepreneurial and publishing world starting Our World News, an African-American news publication. Miller continued to excel in the field of journalism and authored “An Album of Black Americans in the Armed Forces,” a historical tracing of Blacks in the military from 1652 through the late 1960s.

Over the years, Miller was an active member of several professional organizations, including serving on the boards of directors of the Bank of New York and Schering Plough. Miller’s practical business acumen is matched only by a strong sense of civic responsibility, lending his time to several community- based organizations and noble membership in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

Miller shared a deep appreciation for education and empowering those in need. To advance opportunities in education, he also served as a trustee of Pace University and director of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Addition- ally, Miller and his wife founded Associated Black Charities in New York.

Miller was a beloved husband of Gail Wallace Miller and was predeceased by his former wife Ann Davie Miller. He will always be remembered by his de- voted and loving children, Mark and Lynn Miller, his treasured grandchildren, Donald and Annmarie Miller, along with numerous family members and friends who deem Miller a treasure.