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Judy M. Miller

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Judy M. Miller Obituary
Global humanitarian leader and phenomenal human being Judy M. Miller died on February 8, 2016 of natural causes. She was 77 years old. Judy was known throughout the global nonprofit world as a tireless advocate for vulnerable and disadvantaged people. She was known to those fortunate enough to have been close to her as someone with a vivid sense of purpose, a formidable intelligence, and a dry wit. She left this world, and everyone she touched, better than she found it. Judy served as Vice President and Director of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize for 18 years, after a remarkable four-decade career in communications and marketing during which she made breakthroughs for women. The Hilton Prize is the largest in the humanitarian field at $2 million and is highly respected thanks to the rigorous standards Judy established and the exceptional luminaries Judy recruited to serve as the international jury for the Prize. Judy was particularly dedicated to discovering and shining a spotlight on lesser known nonprofit organizations making extraordinary advances in relieving human suffering, such as Tostan, and the most recent Prize winner, Landesa. As part of her groundbreaking work in the humanitarian field, Judy founded the Hilton Humanitarian Symposium, which brought together leading minds to focus on solutions for the biggest global challenges. Recognizing how nonprofits need to change to keep up with a changing world, Judy had a vision that the Hilton Prize laureates could lead the way. With the laureates, she founded the Hilton Laureate Collaborative that is creating and testing ideas for how nonprofits can better and more efficiently serve the world's vulnerable peoples. Prior to her work at the Hilton Foundation, Judy led campaigns in advertising, public relations, politics, and government affairs for corporations, foundations and government agencies. Her earliest career roots were in politics, following in the footsteps of her mother who had a job with a young Congressman Nixon. In 1958, at age 21, Judy came to be a rare female aide on Senator Knowland's gubernatorial campaign. She went on to work on many California campaigns in the 1970's (most notably a Los Angeles bipartisan campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment, the Gov. Reagan ReElect campaign, a 1976 effort to elect the first Republican women to the legislature since 1952, and chair of Governor Deukmejian's appointment task force for women). In the next phase of her life, while raising three daughters and occasional litters of St. Bernard puppies, Judy was a pioneer for women in business. In 1975, Judy became the first woman executive in a major Japanese corporation (Suntory). In 1981, she was the first woman to work openly with men within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Information. She later represented the King Faisal Foundation International Prizes presented annually in Riyadh. Judy also served for eight years as a Los Angeles Department of Water & Power Commissioner during the energy crisis, and she was a founder and past president of The Trusteeship, the Southern California Forum. Her leadership and advocacy led to several awards for her work, such as the 2012 International Women's Forum award for Women Who Make A Difference. Judy was passionate about family, politics, the advancement of women and girls, friendships, travel, dogs (the big ones, like St. Bernards and Dobermans), a place in Santa Barbara where she had hoped to spend more time after she retired, and just about anything of interest to those she loved. If she knew about your interest in gardening, you could count on getting newspaper clippings about that topic for years to come. Judy was quick to laugh and the first to support everyone around her with her love, wisdom, and elbow grease. She made a difference in our world and we are so fortunate to have shared this time and space with her. Judy was born in Dayton, Ohio. She is preceded in death by her husband, Locke C. Miller. Her spirit is carried on by her brother, Richard Miller; her three daughters, Cathey Jackson, Cara Miller and Colleen Graves; her 5 grandchildren, and an extended family of relations and friends from every walk of life and from around the world. A public celebration of Judy's life will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 2, at the Skirball Cultural Center. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Judy's memory to Tostan (www.tostan.org), or Sisters Saving Africa (https://aosk.charity.org).
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Feb. 27 to Feb. 28, 2016
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