Art director

Beloved Seattle Times art director David Miller dies at 67

David Miller liked to do it just that way. A beautifully crafted page, perhaps, for the Seattle Times’ Pacific NW magazine, where he served as art director for the last seven of his 30 years at the paper. An impeccably professional Christmas compilation cassette or CD, made each year for family members from his vast collection of music celebrating his favorite holiday. Lovingly grilled steak (“don’t make it too complicated,” he would tell his son, Matthew, teaching him the art of barbecuing), or scrambled eggs the way his granddaughter Noah loved them. “He was the consummate perfectionist,” his wife, Kim Carney, wrote on Facebook. “Perfect, that’s good enough,” Miller himself said in an interview.

A man devoted to his family and his work in newspaper design and illustration, Miller died on a beautiful Sunday afternoon on October 2, after Suffering a heart attack while raking leaves with his family at his home in Edmonds. He was 67 years old.

Members of the Seattle Times newsroom, mourning the sudden loss of a beloved colleague, recalled the A1 tribute pages that Miller would create for departing colleagues (unsurprisingly, they still looked perfect), the kind but honest feedback he would give young colleagues looking to improve their skills, the way he insisted on driving you home if you were working late, the good humor and words of encouragement that he offered to everyone.

Bill Reader, editor of Pacific NW magazine, said Miller was that rare combination: a person of remarkable skill and talent (he had won several national design awards) who was fun to work with on a daily basis. “He was just a really lovely person. He was funny, he was smart, he cared – just a great teammate.

Miller’s meticulousness – “he would work hours to get a perfect title font”, Reader said – meant that the small team that made up the magazine could breathe easy: “No matter what else, the magazine was going to always look great.” Reader described how Miller made design an integral part of the story development process. “He came up with lots of great story ideas, he brought in things that made the stories better, he asked great questions to help other writers and editors make those stories better. He wasn’t just waiting to be told. tells stories, he was actively involved from the start.

Leon Espinoza, one of Miller’s former editors at The Times, noted that his legendary perfectionism could make editors tear their hair out, but that “he was such a gentle soul, a cheerful colleague and a creative powerhouse. , no one could stay mad at him for long. Especially when the finished work has blown you away and delighted readers.

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Miller grew up outside of Kansas City, Missouri and has always been a fan of the University of Kansas Jayhawks. After studying journalism at KU, Miller worked for a number of newspapers, including The Kansas City Star, The Denver Post, USA Today, and San Jose Mercury News. In the latter position, on a committee planning the Society of Newspaper Design conference, he met Carney, then a designer for the San Francisco Examiner. It was, Carney said, pretty much love at first sight — “the magic just happened.” They married and moved to the Seattle area in 1991, the same year their son was born.

Although a workaholic (he was known to send business emails in the wee hours of the morning), Miller had many interests outside of journalism. He liked to collect things – records (often improvised jazz, reflecting his jazz clarinet years in his youth), mechanical toys, figurines, wooden ducks – and always cut up magazines, recording stories to read later. . He was a sports enthusiast who “knew every stat you could imagine in baseball or football,” his wife said. And he loved the holidays, especially Christmas – appropriate for a man with a white Santa Claus beard and frequent twinkling in his eyes. Carney recalled shopping for Christmas stockings throughout the year, always keeping an eye out for what each member of the family might like. “Sometimes you had to have two [stockings] because he had bought too much.

Miller’s son, Matthew, talked about quality time with his dad growing up, especially camping trips and Little League games. Miller coached his son’s team (the kids would come to him at the supermarket to talk to “Coach Dave”) and insisted on fairness: everyone got a chance to play in all positions. And he was an indulgent and doting grandfather to his two granddaughters: Mason, 8, and Noah, 3, whom he loved to spoil with ice cream and books. “He was extremely nice to them,” Miller’s son said, “always taking them out for treats.”

Besides his wife, son, and granddaughters, Miller is survived by his stepdaughter, Bri Miller; her brother, Barry Miller; and his sister, Kate Nelson. A memorial service is currently planned. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to Seattle Children’s Hospital or any food bank (their local bank is Edmonds Food Bank).

“He knew how to make everyone feel loved and welcome,” Bri Miller said. “He was really the light of every room.”