George D. Miles Jr., 83, passed away on March 23. He was born on June 26, 1938, in Jacksonville.
After graduating from Sam Houston State University (SHSU) in 1961 with a BS degree in journalism, Miles went on to graduate from the Southwestern Graduate Banking School at Southern Methodist University. The majority of his career was spent in the banking industry, retiring as executive vice president for First National Bank of Huntsville after 22 years before returning to serve as marketing coordinator on a part-time basis.
He served as president of the SHSU Alumni Association in 2006 and was directly involved in the origination of the Alumni Garden, designation of the “Presidents Tree,” completion of the Bell Tower, restoration of the Old Main pipe organ and its installation in the Peabody Library and the establishment of regional alumni clubs that led to greater participation in the association. He also initiated an alumni committee that organized the successful movement to prevent any possible name change for SHSU.
Miles’ love for SHSU knew no bounds as he was always seen wearing orange. He even named his cocker spaniel Sammy in honor of Sam Houston. His favorite hobby was volunteering for the community and his work within the university and Huntsville communities was vast. He received the “Huntsville Citizen of the Year” Award in 2007 and February 21, 2008, was proclaimed George Miles Day in Huntsville. He also received the SHSU Alumni Association Service Award in 2008, Edwin G. Sandhop Spirit of Huntsville Award in 2013, Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce Mance Park Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 and was named a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow in 2014. In 2018, he was named to the Wall of Honor in the SHSU College of Humanities and Social Sciences. In addition to serving as chair of the board for the Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce, Miles also served as founding chair of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences advisory board, as a member of SHSU’s President’s Circle, the Executive Leadership Council, Sam Houston Memorial Museum board and Mass Communication advisory board.
Miles is preceded in death by his wife, Beth, and parents, George and Mildred Miles. He is survived by a son and his wife, as well as two stepsons, two granddaughters, three great-grandchildren and numerous additional family members.