Jack and Jane Miller
Sometimes the best things have been staring you in the face your whole life. It just takes ‘getting smart’ to see them. Or in Jack Miller’s case – to see her.
At first, Jane was merely a playmate – a fellow horseback rider and retention pond swimmer. With mothers who were fast friends, they grew up more as brother and sister than prospective lovers.
He didn’t see her. They didn’t see each other, really see each other, until later. It wasn’t until after Jack went to war. He served for two years during WWII as a staff sergeant. It wasn’t until
after he graduated from the Pratt Institute where he studied industrial design. It wasn’t until after he decided to move west, to Seattle, where he planned to open a furniture store and utilize his degree that he finally saw Jane. “I just grew up and got smart,” Jack told me on a sunny afternoon.
We were sitting together in the Miller’s Park Shore condo. Jane was in the next room. He looked at the wall, behind which she sat watching TV, and he smiled. “She’s such a lovely person. She always has been. She’s lovely and gentle and kind. She’s a lady in every sense of the word,” he said with the bit of Texas drawl his voice still holds after 63 years in the Pacific Northwest.
Jack and Jane didn’t just move to Seattle and start any old furniture shop. They opened Miller-Pollard Interiors. Until it closed in 2011, this Seattle icon was well known for its impeccable selection and high quality service.
What initially set the small shop apart? Jack points to Miller-Pollard’s ability to corner the contemporary market. “We carried contemporary pieces before anyone else and people loved it, especially designers,” Jack said.
While the modern look wasn’t one he ever brought home – to this day Jack’s taste continues to incorporate warm leather couches, ornate area rugs and exquisite paintings – his design school foundation helped him work with customers and their unique tastes. This personalized attention allowed Jack’s small shop on University Way to move and expand. At one point, Miller-Pollard Interiors had three locations: University Village, Madison Park and Bellevue.
Looking to retire, Jack kept the business in the family, passing the reins to his son, Cope Miller. Due to extenuating circumstances, Cope closed up shop in January of 2011. “It was the right thing to do. A business like ours just needs a lot of space and it needs it in the right location. When Cope closed, it was the right decision,” Jack said.
As important as Miller-Pollard Interiors was to Jack and Jane, family has always been the focal point of their lives. It still is. Beyond Cope, they also have two daughters: Downs Paul and Kendall Aber.
While their kids were still young they, built a large summer home in Eastern Washington. “We’d spend four months there as a family,” Jack explained. Today, it remains a regular family gathering place where Jack and Jane, their kids and their grandkids still gather yearly to spend time as a family.
I’m guessing Jack’s pretty happy he got smart.