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Former mayor remembered for love of town

FAIRMONT — David Miller, a man instrumental to Fairmont, passed away last Saturday, May 9, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Miller was born in 1938 in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He attended both high school and college in Iowa. He served in the U.S. Army and the National Guard from 1960-1965, rising to the rank of 1st Lieutenant.

In 1961, he married Sharon Rietveld and they made their home in Fairmont.

That same year, he joined his father in running Miller’s Fashions, located in downtown Fairmont. He would become friends with another downtown businessman, Bob Wallace.

“I first met David Miller at a downtown association meeting. It was interesting how we hit it off because we were competitors and yet we became the best of friends. We were able to share what went on in our businesses, we went to markets together, we did a lot of things together socially,” Wallace said.

Wallace said Miller was very important to the downtown community, but also to the city of Fairmont as a whole.

“David did a tremendous amount of things for the city of Fairmont. He served as mayor. He was on many boards. He was very respected,” Wallace said.

He served as president of the Fairmont Chamber of Commerce, Fairmont GO, Fairmont Exchange Club, as director of the MN Retail Merchants Association, First Bank Fairmont Board of Directors, Fairmont City Council, and as mayor of Fairmont from 1988-1992.

Miller had purchased Miller Fashions when his parents retired. The business grew to include six locations in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.

Miller retired in 1996 and moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. David loved to play golf, ski, read, attend athletic and cultural events, and talk sports. He and Sharon also did a lot of traveling.

“They traveled immensely. They’ve been to many countries and that’s what they liked to do,” Wallace said.

Still, Miller and Wallace kept in touch with each other throughout the years and the Millers would come back to Minnesota each summer to visit, as they had a cabin on Gull Lake. Wallace said they maintained a nice relationship throughout the years.

Miller had lived with carcinoid cancer for more than 20 years. Wallace, who also was a cancer patient, said the two talked about their experiences with that as well. A few weeks before Miller went into hospice, the two spoke on the phone and Wallace said Miller knew his death was coming.

“He survived many years with cancer, but it never slowed him down. He just kept going,” Wallace said.

Wallace remembered Miller as good philanthropist and said he gave money to a lot of organizations in Fairmont.

“He had a good life. He was well-respected around here. It was an unusual relationship that we were competitors, but also such good friends,” Wallace said.

David is survived by his lifelong partner and wife of 58 years, Sharon; children, Lisa Stinchfield (Dean), Michael, Jonathan (Ingrid Sanden), Steven (Brian Moretti); six grandchildren; sister, Marilyn MacDonald; six nieces and nephews.

A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Memorial gifts may be made to the Hospice of the Valley, 8555 E. Pinnacle Peak Road, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85255 or to a charity of your choice.

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