Obituary of David Wilman Miner
With heavy hearts, we would like to announce that Dave“Watchdog” Miner passed away on November 17, 2023. Dave was born David Wilman Miner in St. Petersburg, FL on May 13,1946, to James Sr, and Ivalita (Glasscock) Miner. He spent his youth in Owosso, Michigan. Born to a sophisticated family, his mother made sure that his older brother Jim and he were well-educated in all areas of academia and had a first-hand look at the world through their travels.
Following in the footsteps of his father and brother, Dave graduated from Amherst College in 1970. While at Amherst, he was a member of the Cross Country and Track teams; he also wrote for the school newspaper, taught Sunday School, tutored inner-city kids, and represented Amherst College at the Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference.
Feeling his responsibility to his country at an early age, Dave enlisted in the United States Marines Corps after his sophomore year at Amherst. He served two years with a tour of Vietnam. He did not talk much about his experience in Vietnam, but always told us that he wanted to experience the enigma of that war for himself. After his service he returned to Amherst College to finish his degree.
After graduating from Amherst, he received his law degree from the University of Detroit School of Law in the spring of 1974. While in law school, Dave spent two years as the only student on the law school Admissions Committee where he worked to increase the number of African American law students. He was presented the “Distinguished Service” award by the Black American Law Students Association for his efforts. After law school, Dave began working for his dad, and later worked as an assistant city attorney, an assistant county attorney, a prosecutor, and he eventually owned his own private law practice in Florida for more than 25 years.
Dave’s bachelor days ended when he fell in love with Marsha (Krause) and her 8-mo. old, Sarah, whom he adopted. He was excited to be a dad. A few years later their son Joseph (Joey) was born. While he sometimes had a strange way of showing it, he felt great pride in his children and would speak highly of them and their accomplishments. He loved taking them on trips to various parts of the country, always with a video recorder on his shoulder. It was important for Dave to show his kids the value of diversity and inclusion, either through these first-hand experiences or through his numerous philanthropies.
While watching his children find their way through the Manatee School district, Dave began to find faults with the system. Self-proclaimed, Dave the “Watchdog” used unconventional methods to get the attention of the school board and votes (anyone remember the chainsaw incident?) Elected to the school board in 2012 and re-elected in 2016 where he worked tirelessly for 8 years. He believed in the power of roadside signs, “VOTE for Watchdog.” To pass the mileage he plastered the county with VOTE YES signs. VOTE YES to save the bus drivers, VOTE YES to save our teachers; VOTE YES to save our schools. The public voted YES, and the Manatee School system was able to pay the teachers to stay. When the school district wanted to sell the McKelvey Park on Manatee Ave. to developers for a strip mall he pulled out his signs to “SAVE THE PARK.” Never to shy away from controversy, Dave once stated in an interview that, “Manatee Ave. needs another strip Mall like Dolly Parton needs a third breast.” If you knew Dave, you knew him to be outspoken, loyal, and stubborn. With his dry sense of humor and raunchy inappropriate jokes as his specialty, Dave not only saved the park, but he also made his mark on all who he encountered.
Dave was a community guy. We are pretty sure he held some sort of record for philanthropic involvement – there are too many to list here. Rest assured, he believed in the importance of giving ourselves, our time, our dollars, and our love to those in need. He was a lifelong member of The American Legion, VFW, DAV, and Kiwanis. He never failed to send a bit of money to anyone and everyone who asked. He was a leader in establishing Manatee’s 1st Child Abuse Prevention Program and creating METV. He was chairman of the Central Florida Public School Boards Coalition, past president of A.M.I. Kiwanis, Past President of Manatee Children Services, Director of the Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform and Director of the Florida School Board Association. He was an avid supporter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Dave was well-known in Manatee County for his passionate devotion to the betterment of his community. If you were one of the over 500 friends to receive a hand-delivered box of chocolate-covered cherries at Christmas, you knew he loved you and counted on you to help make Bradenton a wonderful place to raise your children.
To know Dave is to know that he was a total character. This is the man who would start his 5-mile running warm-up with a Twinkie and a smoke. Since he quit smoking long ago, Dave continued to walk a few miles every day as he grew older. He also had a very dry and strange sense of humor, the kind of humor reserved for those with equally high IQs. Either you got the joke or were the center of it. And he loved the movies – he would cry his heart out at the sadness and embrace the moments of patriotism, bravery, or just simple living. He also loved his dogs. They were his best friends and put up with his foolery. During his last years he was rarely seen without his dog “Luca” at his side. He (against all rules) took Luca to the bank, grocery store, you name it – he had his dog by his side. Thanks to the kindness of the community and the love they had for Dave, Luca was rarely asked to leave.
Dave is survived by his daughter Sarah Miner (Steve Cureton), his son Joseph Miner, granddaughter Jacquelyn, and two nieces Hon. Jan Miner (Robert Woods) and Dr. Rebecca Miner (Todd Schmidt). He is pre-deceased by his wife, Marsha (Krause); brother James S. Miner II (Sandra); and his parents James Sr. and Ivalita (Glasscock) Miner.
A memorial service in honor of Dave will be held Friday, January 5th from 10:00 - 12:00 PM at Griffith-Cline Funeral Home in Bradenton.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to:
Bradenton Kiwanis Club
The Center in Orlando, FL: https://thecenterorlando.org/
Bishop Animal Shelter in Bradenton
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