By Suzy Kridner
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Donnadine Miller, the namesake of the city's main historic preservation award, became involved in many activities when she and her husband, Gil, moved here in 1997 to get out of the Maryland cold.
She was especially interested in history and archeology, said her friend Dot Moore.
"She was very proactive in those areas," Ms. Moore said, recalling last week working side by side with Ms. Miller on the Turnbull Settlement dig on South Riverside Drive, and several other projects.
"And she was such a nice person," Ms. Moore added.
Donnadine was very healthy, said her husband Gil, and when she became ill in 2008, the couple didn't have a doctor.
She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and after 90 days in hospice, died on April 7, 2008.
Mr. Miller said his wife of 11 years died before the first Donnadine Miller Memorial Historic Preservation Award was given out.
The deadline to submit applications for this year's award is Jan. 31. Buildings at least 50 years old or sites associated with a historic event are eligible.
The city started an historic preservation award program in 2002, said Planning Manager Gail Henrikson.
"The award promotes pride in the city's past and increases awareness and appreciation for buildings that contribute to the history and character of New Smyrna Beach," she said.
She said Ms. Miller was president of the city's Historic Preservation Commission, worked as an amateur archaeologist and participated in numerous other events and activities.
Mr. Miller said after visiting Donnadine in hospice, Sally Mackay, mayor at the time, asked John Hagood, then city manager, to name the award after Donnadine.
"She died a month later and didn't know the award was being named after her starting in 2009," he said.
One of the early awards before it was renamed went to the renovation of the Dairy Queen on U.S. 1.
"We always stopped there as Donnadine loved Dairy Queen," her husband said.
"She was a dynamic woman and involved in anything," said Mr. Miller.
While in the hospital, she received an award from the Greyhound Pets of America.
"They told her it wasn't a pity award. They voted on it months earlier when she stepped away from a meeting," according to her husband. "She was going to get the small greyhound statue whether she was sick or not."
A Greyhound Pets 5K Run & Petwalk also has been named in her honor.
"Donnadine made many friends," her husband said. "I glanced at her address book. There are nearly 700 names. Mine has 30."
Ms. Henrikson said., "While award recipients are encouraged to apply for local landmark designation, receiving an award does not place any restrictions on the property."
"Last year, residential and non-residential winners were named," said Kevin Jameson of the city Planning Department. Winners were the Night Swan Bed and Breakfast and Tony Crabtree, 601 Faulkner St.
"We have some nominations already this year. Anyone can make a nomination, but the owner of the property has to be willing to accept the award," Mr. Jameson said.
Winners of the 2013 awards will be presented a bronze plaque at a March City Commission meeting.
Applications are available at City Hall, 210 Sams Ave., the New Smyrna Museum of History, 201 Sams Ave., and online at www.cityofnsb.com.
For more information, contact Kevin Jameson at (386) 424-2138.