Harriet Miller, a former Santa Barbara mayor and City Council member, died Wednesday at the age of 90, according to a statement released by the city of Santa Barbara.
Miller served on the City Council from 1987 to 1994, and was elected mayor in 1995. She continued in that position until her retirement in 2001.
The flag in De la Guerra Plaza outside Santa Barbara City Hall flew at half-staff Wednesday in her honor, as did the flags at all county buildings.
Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapel is handling the arrangements, but a memorial service has not yet been scheduled.
Miller was active in the community and served on numerous boards, such as the Housing Authority, the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, and the county Air Pollution Control District.
She championed several local organizations, including the Santa Barbara Center for Performing Arts, Family Services Agency, Community Action Commission, Fighting Back Task Force, Shelter Services for Women and the Westside Neighborhood Clinic.
Her greatest passion was children’s projects, and Miller was instrumental in the creation of the city’s skateboard park, the 1235 Teen Center and the city’s Youth Council.
In her honor, each year the Downtown Organization awards an outstanding student with the “Harriet Miller Youth Leadership Award.”
“Harriet was tireless in her efforts of community and public service. We have lost a very valued member of our community,” said 2nd District Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf in a released statement.
“I considered Harriet a good friend and we will all miss her wit, wisdom and compassion. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her loved ones during this time.
Other friends and colleagues mentioned Millers “tenacity, wit and perseverance through challenging times,” upon hearing of her death, according a statement from the city of Santa Barbara.
Before working in Santa Barbara politics, Miller served as the superintendent of public instruction for the state of Montana, and as the director of the American Association of Retired Persons in Washington, D.C.
She received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and an honorary doctorate from Whitman College, along with a master’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania.