If you walk into the L.C. Cozzens administrative offices at Portales Municipal Schools, it’s likely Julie Miller will greet you with kind words and a smile.
The 61-year-old native of Clovis never imagined being on the other side of the classic hometown rivalry between Clovis and Portales, but after working for Portales Municipal Schools for 30 years, she’s made Roosevelt County her home.
Miller has served the community through the schools and through her leadership in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Portales. Miller has been cancer-free for eight years and has served as the survivor chair of the event.
She’s married to Portales City Councilor Mike Miller and the couple has one daughter, Michelle Boone married to Cinco Boone. She also has two Yorkshire Terriers, Stitch and Izzy, and a grand-dog named Ellie.
Miller is also the middle child of three daughters born to Max and Charline Wallace. One of the most memorable days of her life was her daughter’s wedding, which took place on the square of Elida. She enjoyed preparing for the celebration and spending time with her family.
What has been your favorite part about working for Portales schools? Being able to be of assistance to people both in the school district and the community.
What is one moment or accomplishment in your life that made you proud of yourself? Losing 80 pounds and keeping it off for almost three years.
What would you do on your ideal day off? Be with my family, including Mike, Michelle, Cinco, and my sisters and their families at either Ute Lake or on the river near New Braunfels, Texas.
How did you meet your husband and what did you do for your first date? I met my husband at the City of Clovis. I was working as the city manager’s secretary and he was a firefighter and public education officer for the City of Clovis. On our first date we went to the State Theatre in Clovis and saw “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” After the movie, we drove around in the country in his Oldsmobile Cutlass with the T-tops off and the heater on (it was in February).
Talk about your fight with cancer. How did you become a leader in fighting the disease? My fight with cancer was a pretty simple one. I was diagnosed with stage zero breast cancer on Presidents Day in 2006 and had a double mastectomy in March of that year. I say my fight was a simple one because I did not have to have chemotherapy or radiation. I was so lucky. When I saw my oncologist in 2012 he told me that I had graduated. I was confused and he said since I had been cancer-free for six years, I didn’t have to come see him again. Of course, I was thrilled. I got involved in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life when Debbie Stenstrom invited me to attend the survivor reception in probably 2008. The following year, Debbie asked me to be the honorary chair and I accepted. On the day of the event I had a terrible kidney stone attack and wasn’t able to attend the Relay. Since then, I have been the survivor chair and this year I was co-chair of the entire Relay with Mark Clark. We have a wonderful group of people here in Portales that work really hard on the Relay which raises money for Cancer research.
What’s the best advice your mother gave you? Be proud of who you are and treat others as you want to be treated.
What’s your favorite part of living in Roosevelt County? The people. I have said many times, “Being raised in Clovis, never in my wildest dreams would I think I would be living in Portales and loving it.” You know there has been quite a rivalry between Clovis and Portales for many years.
What’s something you want to do or are saving for when you retire? I really haven’t thought much about retirement because I so enjoy what I do in my job. I guess if there was one thing that I am looking forward it would be not having to be anywhere at any specific time. I can just piddle all I want at whatever I want.
— Compiled by staff writer Christina Calloway