Mergers and acquisitions.

Or M&A as the industry uses it. This is an integral part of the business machinery as businesses are created and sometimes sold for a number of reasons.

Such a process can be especially daunting for the small mom and pop stores when they are ready to hand the business over to their heirs or sell it outside of the family.

This is where Gary Miller came in.

Mark T. Osler

Gary Miller

Gary was a kind and thoughtful man who ran a consulting firm, GEM Strategy Management Inc., that advised small and medium-sized businesses on their mergers and acquisitions. He also wrote a monthly column for The Denver Post guiding business owners through the intricacies of these types of transactions.

Gary’s March column should run today, as it has on the fourth Sunday of the month for about five years.

Unfortunately, Gary died of a heart attack at his home earlier this month. He was at his computer planning a golf trip when he called his 55-year-old wife, Eileen, and then went to another room. When she got there, he was already gone.

Needless to say, the sudden nature of it all came as a shock to the family.

On Thursday, Eileen said the support she received from her family and friends helped a lot during this difficult time.

“God took him, and now I’m here to do whatever I’m supposed to do.”

The couple met in St. Joseph, Missouri, where she attended community college and he was a student at the University of Nebraska. The two eventually graduated from the University of Missouri with advanced degrees and spent most of the next 25 years in the St. Louis area.

They developed a taste for Colorado during their honeymoon at a lodge outside of Leadville, a place they regularly returned for vacation during the summer. And later, while working for an advertising company, Gary was sent to Vail to ski, which they loved and proved to be a landing spot when they moved to Colorado about 20 years ago. Gary ran a company, Vail Capital Partners, that bought real estate and built houses.

The 2008 recession changed everything in the real estate market, so the Millers led to the Denver area and Gary, who started the GEM strategy.

Finally, he shared the knowledge he had acquired during his decades as a businessman on the pages of the Post.

And while mergers and acquisitions might not sound like a compelling topic to write about, Gary had a loyal readership, as evidenced by the emails he would receive each month after his column was published. Eileen was his editor, helping him write for readers who didn’t necessarily know the pros and cons of the business.

“He was proud to write for the Denver Post,” said Eileen.

Gary wasn’t all business. He and Eileen served in the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Loreto in Foxfield. Both taught Sunday school, and Gary served the ward in other capacities. In the ward, Gary found a community, a sense of place, said Eileen.

After all these years in the “highly competitive” business world, “it really took the pressure off,” she said.

Gary turned 78 on February 6. Together with his wife, three children and five grandchildren survive him.