Former University First Lady Miller passes away

11/1/2010 - By: Staff Report

Edwina “Nena” Miller, the widow of former University of Nevada President N. Edd Miller, passed away Oct. 22 in Reno following a brief illness. She was 88.

Miller and her husband came to Reno in 1965 with N. Edd Miller’s appointment as president. N. Edd Miller served until 1973, when the couple left Reno following N. Edd Miller’s appointment as president of the University of Maine at Portland-Gorham.

The Millers returned to Reno in 1988, and were known in the area for their extensive charity and service to the community. N. Edd Miller passed away in 2004.

Nena Miller, a native of Conroe, Texas, was born Aug. 7, 1922. She attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where she met her husband. The couple was married for more than 60 years.

Nena Miller was a well-respected figure in Reno, known for her charity work for numerous local, regional and national causes.

“She just gravitated toward things that needed help and supplied it,” a longtime friend, Nettie Oliverio, told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “She touched a lot of folks around here.”

Nena Miller’s accomplishments included the establishment of day care and kindergarten schools for low-income and special needs children; directing Early Childhood Education programs; and her support for the University’s “Dean’s Future Scholars” program, which has helped hundreds of low-income youth graduate from local high schools and then become first-generation college graduates from the University.

“She had her finger on a lot of good things in the community,” Oliverio told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Miller is survived by her daughter, Cathy, of Santa Fe, N.M.; son, Kenn, of San Gabriel, Calif.; brother, Thomas Whitaker of Houston; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Details for a celebration of life will be released at a later date.


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