There are plenty of businessmen around the world, but many fail to make lasting names for themselves. These Dallasites conquered the business world and gave the Park Cities and Preston Hollow yet another reason to be proud of their community.
Henry S. Miller Family
Henry S. Miller Jr. was once considered God’s businessman — a title bestowed for both his business acumen and extraordinary generosity.
The son of Henry S. Miller, who was the patriarch of the Miller family and founder of the commercial real estate company that bears his name, Miller Jr. joined his father’s company after returning from World War II. He expanded it from a one-man venture into a growing company with a diverse portfolio.
“I’m definitely standing on the shoulders of giants,” said Greg Miller, a fourth-generation Miller and current CEO of Henry S. Miller Company. “I have no illusions. I’m doing the best I can to carry on my family tradition.”
It’s safe to say Henry S. Miller Company has grown right alongside the city it calls home. After celebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2014, the company is witnessing another period of growth with a bevy of new developments in the pipeline.
And it’s not just the business that the family inherited from Henry S. Miller Jr., but his legacy of goodwill and hard work also has inspired subsequent generations of this distinguished family.
The Millers are actively involved in Lift Literacy, an adult literacy program, The Family Place, the American Red Cross, YMCA, and the Crystal Charity Ball.
The family is also active in local education, with Geraldine “Tincy” Miller serving more than 30 years on the State Board of Education.
As a member, she has been a strong advocate for children with dyslexia, facilitating the creation of the state’s first Dyslexia Handbook in 1988.
Greg Miller was reminded of something his father Vance C. Miller used to say, “ ‘The night is darkest just before dawn. Just keep pressing on.’ This kept everyone fired up and moving, and we as a family hope to keep up this mentality.”
While his father and aunt founded the store, Stanley Marcus, who died in 2002, was credited with transforming Neiman Marcus into Dallas’ signature store. His collection of papers, manuscripts, publications, and documents reside at SMU’s DeGolyer Library.
H. Ross Perot’s third-place 1992 presidential run is not forgotten. A silver ‘Ross for Boss’ campaign coin was listed recently for $38 on eBay.
Longtime residents remember the Dallas business magnate for Electronic Data Systems, the Plano company he founded and later sold. Newer residents may better identify the name with the Perot Museum.
His children continue to expand on the Perot name’s place in business and charitable work. Katherine Perot Reeves, Margot Perot, Nancy Perot, and Carolyn Perot Rathjen participated in the groundbreaking for the Perot Family Campus. Construction of the North Texas Food Bank’s $25.5 million new Plano distribution center begins in August. The Perots have committed $12 million to the project.
The founder and chairman of Beal Bank, one of the state’s largest private banks, is a businessman, mathematician, and entrepreneur. He became a real estate investor at age 19. In addition to his business success, Beal also received attention for his success in high-stakes poker during the mid-2000s. Last year, he purchased the former Preston Hollow estate of Tom Hicks, which was reportedly the most expensive home transaction in Texas history. In January, he put the home back on the market with an asking price of $48.9 million.
Halliday, founder of her namesake real estate company, moved to the area in 1938 to manage the hat department at the W.A. Green store. Legend has it that businessman Clint Murchison recognized her talent, remarking that if she could sell “those crazy hats,” maybe she could sell “crazy houses.” His instinct would prove correct. Her company handled more than $6.6 billion in transactions the year before her 2015 death.
Real estate developer Fred Trammell Crow founded his namesake company in 1948. Among his most well-known projects was Dallas’s Market Center, which was built in 1957. His son, Harlan Crow, is responsible for some of downtown Dallas’ most iconic structures, including the Trammel Crow Building and Chase Tower, as well as the Trammel Crow Museum of Asian Art. Harlan’s brother, fellow developer Trammell S. Crow, is one of the nation’s leading environmental philanthropists, supporting numerous green initiatives such as Earth Day Texas and the Audubon Society’s climate change initiative.
The veteran reporter and Highland Park High School alum rose to fame after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. A twist of fate found Allman face-to-face with Lee Harvey Oswald moments after the fatal shooting. At the time, Allman was looking for a payphone in hopes of becoming the first journalist to report the shooting. He did not recognize the significance of the chance encounter until later.
Allman went on to co-found Allie Beth Allman and Associates with his wife, and has continued working there well into his 80s.
Gerald J. Ford
Ford made his mark in the business world by turning around failing banks. In addition to investing in real estate, he has earmarked a large amount of his fortune to SMU, which is evident through the on-campus football stadium that bears his name.