Gary Miller, businessman and Denver Post columnist, dies at 78

Gary Miller, businessman and Denver Post columnist, dies at 78

Mergers and acquisitions.

Or M&A in the parlance of the industry. It’s a vital part of the machinery of business, as companies are started and then sometimes sold for any number of reasons.

Such a process can be particularly daunting for the small “mom and pop” shops when they’re ready to turn the business over to their heirs or sell outside of the family.

That’s where Gary Miller came in.

Mark T. Osler

Gary Miller

Gary was a kind and thoughtful man who ran a consulting company, GEM Strategy Management Inc., that helped guide small- and medium-sized businesses through their M&A. He also wrote a monthly column for The Denver Post that walked business owners through the intricacies of these kinds of transactions.

Gary’s March column was to run today, as it has on the fourth Sunday of the month for about five years or so.

Sadly, Gary died at his home earlier this month of a heart attack. He had been sitting at his computer planning a golf trip when he called out to his wife of 55 years, Eileen, and then walked into another room. By the time she got there, he was gone.

Needless to say, the sudden nature of it all was a shock to the family.

On Thursday, Eileen said the support she’s received from her family and friends has helped greatly during this difficult time.

“God took him, and now I’m here to do whatever it is I’m supposed to do.”

The couple met in St. Joseph, Mo., where she was attending community college and he was visiting while a student at the University of Nebraska. The two eventually graduated from the University of Missouri with advanced degrees and spent most of the next 25 years in the St. Louis area.

They developed a fondness for Colorado while on their honeymoon staying in a lodge just outside of Leadville, a place they returned to regularly in the summers for vacation. And later, on a job for an advertising company, Gary was sent to ski in Vail, which hooked them and proved to be their landing spot when they moved to Colorado about 20 years ago. Gary ran a business, Vail Capital Partners, that purchased property and built houses.

The recession that hit in 2008 changed everything in the housing market, so that led the Millers to the Denver area and to Gary starting GEM Strategy.

Eventually, he ended up sharing the knowledge he acquired during his decades as a businessman on the pages of The Post.

And though mergers and acquisitions may not sound like a compelling topic to write about, Gary had a loyal readership as evidenced by the emails he would receive each month after his column would publish. Eileen was his editor, helping him write for readers who didn’t necessarily know the ins and out of the business.

“He was proud to write for The Denver Post,” Eileen said.

Gary wasn’t all business. He and Eileen were active at Our Lady of Loreto Catholic Church in Foxfield. They both taught Sunday school, and Gary served the parish in other capacities. In the parish, Gary found a community, a sense of place, Eileen said.

After all those years in the “hard-hitting” business world, “it really, it took some of the pressure off,” she said.

Gary turned 78 on Feb. 6. Along with his wife, he is survived by three children and five grandchildren.

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