Former Scotts Valley mayor dies at 71
Oct 29, 2012 | 1780 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joe Miller
Joe Miller

A funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday, Oct. 27, in Scotts Valley for former Scotts Valley Mayor Joe Miller.

Mr. Miller died late Oct. 17. He was 71.

He was known by family and friends as a hard worker who was appreciative of others and kept a sense of humor. He had great passion and love for his family and friends, his Catholic faith and the community of Scotts Valley.

Born in Denver, Colo. Mr. Miller was adopted as an infant by George and Florence Miller. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Twin Falls, Idaho, where he lived until he left for college at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. At Gonzaga, he met and married his wife of 50 years.

Mr. Miller graduated with a degree in electrical engineering, and the couple moved to Santa Clara County, where they had three children. He worked for a variety of Silicon Valley companies, including NASA Ames, AMS and Intel's Memory Systems Division.  He held two patents in the field of electronic memories. After he left Intel, he worked as an independent consultant during the 1980s and early ’90s.

In 1998, he became the executive director of the Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce, a position he held until his retirement in 2001, shortly after organizing the first Art Under the Oaks event, now the annual Scotts Valley Art and Wine Festival.

In 1979, Mr. Miller and his family moved from San Jose to Scotts Valley, where he became interested in local politics, especially regarding land-use management and appropriate growth. In 1984, he was elected to the Scotts Valley City Council. He remained on the council for three terms and served as mayor three times.

Skypark, the Cavallero Transit Center, the new library and Scotts Valley Drive improvements all had their inception during his time in office, as did Scotts Valley High School.

During his years on the council, he served terms as Scotts Valley representative to the Local Agency Formation Commission, the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission and the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District. He was the chairman of the transit district for one term.

He served as a director of the Scotts Valley water board on two occasions, from 1996 to 2000 and from 2008 until his death.

His focus on the board was to continue to improve the water supply through conservation, aquifer recharge and interconnections with other water districts. Both as city councilman and as water board director, he was instrumental in development of the recycled wastewater facility, a cooperative effort with the district and the cities of Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz.

Service to others was a way of life for Mr. Miller. He was actively involved in the Catholic Church from boyhood, served as freshman class president at Gonzaga and, after his retirement, transported Santa Cruz County residents to out-of-county medical appointments as a driver for the Red Cross Transportation Program.

He was an active member of Scotts Valley Kiwanis Club from 1996 until his death. He served as treasurer multiple times and dedicated many hundreds of hours to Kiwanis projects. His favorite activities were hosting the Christmas wrapping party for the gifts Kiwanis presented to Little Brothers-Little Sisters, coordinating and editing the service club roundup for publication in the Press-Banner and helping organize Music at Skypark.

Mr. Miller enjoyed traveling with his family.

He is survived by his wife, Chris Miller of Scotts Valley; and three children, Debbie Guyotte, and her husband, Martin, of Newport, R.I., Steve Miller, and his wife, Megan, of Scotts Valley and Jennifer Grove, and her husband, Kevin, of Scotts Valley.

He leaves three grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Anne Hale.

Saturday’s funeral Mass will begin at 1 p.m. at San Agustin Catholic Community, 257 Glenwood Drive, in Scotts Valley. A reception will follow at the Scotts Valley Community Center, 360 Kings Village Road.

Donations may be sent to Scotts Valley Kiwanis Club, P.O. Box 66257, Scotts Valley, CA 95067; or to St. Vincent de Paul, 257 Glenwood Drive, Scotts Valley, CA 95066.

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