Cover photo for Anita Mae Miller's Obituary
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1928 Anita 2022

Anita Mae Miller

May 19, 1928 — December 16, 2022

Anita Mae Miller, after a lifetime advocating for women’s rights to equal access to education, as well as equal work and pay, passed from this life on December 16, 2022.  As a member of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps, Anita received her nursing degree from Baylor University. While working as a nurse at the University of California, San Francisco, she received an A.B. at San Francisco State and then her Master’s in Education from Stanford University. At UCSF, she met and married Dr. John N. Miller, Jr., a local Obstetrician and Gynecologist, who predeceased her in 1987. 

Settling in Sacramento, Anita turned her tireless energy to involvement with the American Association of University Women (AAUW), serving in many leadership roles, including President of the California State Division of AAUW. She was appointed Chairwoman by Ronald Reagan of the California Commission on the Status of Women in 1972, transitioning it from an advisory board to a permanent commission. As Chairwoman, she focused on women’s issues that were being addressed for the first time, including starting an advice column, “A Woman Ought to Know,” which was published in over 100 newspapers throughout the State. In 1975, she was named California Woman of the Year. She recognized and lived, in her own words: “There is a time and place for issues to be put forth if they are to be successful.” (see “The Tide of the Times Was With Us”: Women’s Issues and the California Commission on the Status of Women, 1972-1974

Along with many governmental appointments in California and nationally, Anita obtained a Rockefeller Foundation Grant to study the legal and societal impact of the Equal Rights Amendment. With the passage by Congress and ratification by California, Anita devoted her time to lobbying and educating for ratification of the ERA in other states.

Anita, later, became the Executive Director of California Women Lawyers (CWL), where part of her job was selecting keynote speakers for the annual CWL Dinner at the California State Bar Convention, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.

Born Anita Mae Owen, in 1928, in Versailles (ver-SAYLES), Kentucky, to Crozier Lewis and Nannie Mae Owen. She is survived by her sister, Margaret (Peggy) Lucille Easter, predeceased by her sister, Mary Beatrice Cantrell, and her brother, Robert Lee Owen. She is survived by her daughters, Greta Ellen Munsill (John) and Karen Suzanne Streich (Robert). She was A.M. to her grandchildren: Laurel Mae (Stephen), Owen Matthew (Teresa), Caleb Mosby (Sadi), Ethan Miller, Gabriel Michael (Kathleen), Jonathan Maccabee (Krista), Dominic Moses, Seth Augustine, Raphael Antonio (Haley), and Nicole Samantha. She was also survived by ten great-grandchildren. Burial is private. A celebration of life is being planned for Spring 2023. Donations in her memory may be directed to AAUW – please mention Anita Miller, #9110 Fund, Sacramento Branch.

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