We’ve lost a long-time “mover and shaker” of Point Loma with the recent passing of Nancy Miller (Wilberg).
Nancy will be remembered as a long-time – over half a century – local Peninsula Democratic Party activist and an early supporter of marriage equality. She was a member of both the Point Loma Democratic Club and San Diego County’s Democratic Central Committee for over 50 years. She served two terms as the president of the Point Loma dems, and as vice-chair for the county-wide dems.
As a party activist, Nancy attended over 20 state conventions, and in recognition of her service to the San Diego Democratic Party she received that organization’s highest honor, the “1996 Henry Auerback Award.” Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldana was quoted in the U-T San Diego obituary for Miller, that “Nancy hosted many Democratic Club meeting at her home on Niagara Avenue.”
“In the 1990’s,” said Robert DeVries, ”she insisted on marching, alone if necessary, with the Point Loma Democratic Club banner at the Pride Week Parade. In 1996 she was one of only two representatives from the Club to march in the event.”
[Editor’s Note: In 2002 Nancy was quoted in a San Francisco Chronicle article about the changing political landscape of formerly Republican-strongholds like Point Loma.]
Nancy E. Miller was born in 1935 in Boston and was raised in one of the first public housing projects built in America. A leader from the start, she was known as the “ringleader” of her neighborhood.
In 1953 Nancy went to Boston College and earned a BS in nursing. During her stay there she met Jim Miller, and they were married in 1957. Due to the booming aerospace industry, they headed west and after a short stay in Phoenix, Jim was offered an engineering job with General Dynamics in San Diego.
In 1960, Jim and Nancy, inspired by the charismatic president candidate, John F. Kennedy, became deeply involved in politics and the Democratic Party. Jim felt the call of a new career, and while he went to law school, Nancy continued to work part time as a nurse while raising their rapidly growing family.
To grow up in Nancy Miller’s home was to grow up surrounded by politics. There were boxes of brochures and leaflets stacked in every spare corner, and the house would fill up with adults talking about assembly districts and caucuses on a regular basis.
Even after Jim Miller and Nancy parted, she continued to sit on the board of the James H. Miller Jr. Fund, which provides legal resources to self-representing persons, and had continued until her final days.
In 1996 Nancy met Robert Wilberg at the San Diego County Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. They married in 2001, sharing a mutual enthusiasm for political organizing and activism.
To quote a line from her daughter Laura’s tribute to her mother: – “We will miss you Nancy, but we will never forget you.”