John Cloyd “Jay” Miller II died on September 13, 2018 of liver cancer.
He was a fifth-generation New Mexican, born on January 7, 1938. He was the son of J. Cloyd Miller and Margaret “Margie” Miller of Albuquerque. He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years Jeanette Duncan Miller. He is survived by his daughter Melissa Barker, grandsons Tyler and Derek Barker of Scottsdale, and son Duncan Miller of Phoenix. Also survived by special friend Lloyd Barker.
Jay was born in Lordsburg, NM. Soon after, his family moved to Deming, NM where his father became superintendent of schools. At the age of 14, they moved to Silver City, NM where his father served as President of Western New Mexico University.
After earning a Master’s Degree from UNM, Jay taught school in Albuquerque. There he met fellow teacher Jeanette Duncan and the two were married in 1961. In 1965, he accepted a job with the National Education Association of New Mexico in Santa Fe, serving as chief lobbyist and later as Executive Director. Following retirement, Jay wrote a syndicated newspaper column and blog about New Mexico politics called Inside the Capitol. In 2005, he authored Billy the Kid Rides Again: Digging for the Truth chronicling the story of three sheriffs, two towns, and a New Mexico Governor who wanted to exhume Billy the Kid and his mother to debunk theories that The Kid survived his encounter with Pat Garrett.
Jay and Jeanette shared a passion for making new friends, donating their time to civic and charitable causes, and traveling the world. Jay served as vice-president of the Santa Fe School Board, president of the Santa Fe Girl’s Club, president of the Santa Fe Fiesta Foundation, member of the St. John’s Methodist Church Board, local president and district governor of the Lions Club, and vice-president of Jay Miller and Friends Fiesta Float Building Society. Jay Miller and Friends was formed to celebrate Santa Fe Fiestas, commemorating the reconquest of northern New Mexico by the Spanish in 1692. Over a 40 year period, the group grew to over 150 paying members building parade floats and hosting Hysterical Balls to raise money to support the religious aspects of Fiestas. Their floats, often commenting on local and state politics, won the Hysterical Division 20 times and the Grand Prize twice.
If a successful life is measured by the friends one makes, then Jay was wealthy indeed. First among those friends was the love of his life, Jeanette, who he now joins for an eternity of joy and peace.
In lieu of flowers, his wish was for donations to be made in his name to the New Mexico Children’s Foundation. NMCF, P.O. Box 8182, Santa Fe, NM 87504. (nmchildren.org)