Last week, this community and the Biscayne National Park lost Lloyd Miller, a former Pan American Airways employee who fell in love with the beauty of southern Biscayne Bay shortly after he moved to South Florida 75 years ago and was instrumental in the area’s establishment as a national park in 1968.
He passed away at his home in South Dade Sunday night with his wife Dorothy by his side. He was 100 years old.
Lloyd was the last of the group of men that had successfully fought off the double threat of SeaDade, a major petrochemical plant and seaport that was to be built at the approximate location of today’s Dante Fascell Visitor Center, and the City of Islandia a proposed city linking the northernmost islands of the Florida Keys with Miami Beach and Key Largo. The fight got nasty, with Lloyd receiving late night threatening phone calls. He had his car vandalized and his dog poisoned.
But they prevailed, and Biscayne became a National Monument in 1968, followed in 1980 by the more correct designation: National Park.
Lloyd chronicled the history of the fight to establish the park in his book, appropriately titled “Biscayne National Park: It Almost Wasn’t.” And Lloyd never gave up. Five years ago, he got up to speak on behalf of the park at a Congressional committee hearing held in Homestead. He had not been invited to do so…but he did it anyway.
Lloyd was a member of the South Dade Garden Club for over 37 years.
When he turned 100 years old on July 10, we had about 20 cars drive by his house. Friends, garden club members and rangers from the park participated. The cars were all decorated and everyone was blowing their horns.
The place that he loved, that we all love, will always remind us that the little guys can win. We and future generations can now enjoy the natural beauty and bounty of Biscayne Bay, the offshore islands and the coral reefs thanks to the efforts of Lloyd Miller.