A forte for fatherhood
Rene Miville is a man who has worn many hats: fashion photographer, artistic innovator, investment financier.
But of all the hats he’s worn, none suit him better than his favorite: father.
Miville, commissioner of the Captiva Erosion Prevention District (CEPD), is the dedicated dad to three children – Mirella, 14, Rene, 11, and Maxime, 9 – as well as humble husband to his wife of 16 years, Margarethe.
From the third floor of their Captiva Drive, the couple can see the beach where they first met in the early 1990s.
“We met on the beach over there at Blind Pass,” said Rene, pointing out their living room window. “I knew the day that I met her we could be married, and I’d never thought that about anyone before.”
Margarethe, a native of Germany, also remembers that first meeting, although she said that she thought it was funny that the tall, young American was driving along the beach in a golf cart and carrying a small Pomeranian.
However, the pair struck up a conversation and, three years later, were married.
A highly acclaimed fashion and art photographer for more than 25 years, Miville’s works appear in the L.A. County Art Museum, Denver Art Museum and the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany. His photographs can also be found in the private collections of Graham Nash and Leonard Vernon.
Following their marriage, Rene began working as a market investor, buying and selling stock along with financing new investment funds. That transition, he stated, did not stop him from tapping into his creative talents.
“Once you’re an artist, you’ll always be an artist,” he said. “I still produce work from time to time for charities to use in fundraisers. It does very well and raises a lot of money for them.”
Miville’s life, he noted, changed dramatically when the couple welcomed their first child, Mirella, in 1994. Shortly after her birth, he recalled bringing the baby to a party at a friend’s house on Sanibel where he met up with his wife, who decided to take the couple’s kayak to the soiree.
“We thought it was about three miles away, so Margarethe said that she wanted to paddle over and meet us there,” he explained. “But it turned out to be like seven miles away. So we were waiting and waiting for her to show up.”
Finally, Margarethe arrived at the boat dock behind the party house.
“She came right up to us, smiling, and could tell that the baby was hungry. She took Mirella out of my arms, sat down and started to feed her – just like that,” Rene said. “It was like she instantly went from Uberwife to Ubermother. And I thought to myself how lucky is our girl to have this woman as her mom, and how lucky I was to have her as my wife.”
In the family’s backyard, Mirella was hosting three of her classmates while skatebaording on their own half-pipe structure. The recent graduate of The Sanibel School offered much praise for her parents, adding that her father is “pretty cool.”
“He really takes an interest in what I like to do,” she said. “He encourages me to go surfing, skatebaording and photography.”
Proud papa Rene beamed with pride.
“When you hear from other people about how well spoken your children are and that they consider them of such good character, that really makes me smile,” he said. “They’re all great kids. They get along with each other well, and living together, as a family, is such a blessing.”
“Little Rene,” as the 11-year-old is referred to, hopes someday to be a dad just like his own.
“He’s very sensible and down to earth,” he offered. “He’s a good listener and he gives good advice.”
Youngest sibling Maxime, when asked what she likes about her father best, giggled a little before saying, “His best talent is showing off.”
“A lot of times he points out things that I never noticed before,” she added. “He’s very fun to be around.”
The longtime Captivan will likely spend this Father’s Day at home with his wife and kids, whom he clearly considers his greatest contribution to our world.
“I’d like my legacy as a father to be having my kids turn out a little bit better than I did,” he explains with a wide smile. “They say you can judge a man by how well his grandchildren turn out. You’re only gonna make it in life if you’re creative, work hard and work smart.”