Lonnie Miller, former Boyden High principal, restaurateur dies

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 26, 2015

By Mark Wineka

STATESVILLE — Lonnie Dent Miller, who was principal of Salisbury’s Boyden High School for two years during the early days of integration, died Monday at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. A resident of Statesville, Miller was 81.

In late May 1968, Miller was named principal of Boyden High School — today’s Salisbury High — to replace John H. Nettles, who had served in the local school system for 41 years.

Miller had been assistant superintendent of Statesville City Schools for the previous two years. He also had been a former principal of Statesville Senior High, D. Matt Thompson Junior High and the Mulberry School in Statesville before coming to Boyden at age 34.

The same year Miller became principal at Boyden, Harold Isenberg was named superintendent of Salisbury City Schools, replacing Superintendent J.H. Knox, who was retiring.

Miller served as Boyden High principal for two years before resigning near the end of the 1969-70 school year, to become principal of a newly organized private school in Statesville called the Gilbert School.

An Iredell County native, Miller was a teacher and principal from 1955-1975, then went on to have a second career as a restaurateur. As executive vice president of Connor Management Inc., he was named 1990 Restaurateur of the Year by the N.C. Restaurant Association.

Miller had started with Mom and Pop’s, then Western Steer, and before retiring in 1999, he became co-founder of Sagebrush Steakhouse.

Miller received his bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University and his master’s degree in education from the University of North Carolina.

He was a former president of the ASU board, and he received an honorary doctorate from the school in 2011. His memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at Western Avenue Baptist Church in Statesville.