Widow of Goldwater’s vice presidential running mate, Stephanie Miller celebrates turning 100

Published 12:10 am Saturday, January 28, 2023

SALISBURY — Stephanie Miller never imagined she’d live the life she has. Born of Polish and Ukrainian immigrants in the small upstate New York town of Lockport, she found herself soon after high school graduation as a witness in a court case involving her mother. A dashing young attorney representing her mom not only won the case but that witness as well, claiming she was the prettiest woman he’d ever seen. Wedded after just three dates, Stephanie often said her husband provided more of an education than academia ever could.

Stephanie Miller — submitted photo

Stephanie married William E. Miller, who served as an assistant prosecutor at the post-World War II Nuremburg trials, 14 years as a U.S. Congressman from upstate New York, chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee and Republican National Committee, and finally as Sen. Barry Goldwater’s vice presidential running mate in 1964. He died 40 years ago at age 69.

Stephanie was considered a huge asset in her husband’s career. She was glamorous, poised and well-spoken when she was quite suddenly thrown into the national spotlight by having to either appear at rallies of thousands or speak on her own. She was often mistaken for a sister of her two oldest daughters, Libby and Mary, because she was so youthful looking. Because of her heritage, she was sent to speak to Polish groups to win votes, but after wowing the crowds with the few words she learned for the occasion, she was left flummoxed and speechless when folks ran up to her afterwards expecting more — uh-oh, she laughed, she’d been “discovered.”

Stephanie was active in the congressional women’s club on Capitol Hill, entertained numbers of prominent politicians including President Nixon, but still found time to be involved in her two children’s schools. After her husband’s retirement from Congress and their move back to New York, Stephanie devoted most all of her time to her first love — mothering her “second family” of a much younger boy and girl, Bill Jr. and Stephanie Jr., age 5 and 3 at the time.

Being widowed for as long as she was married, Stephanie still managed to lead an active, healthy life of tennis, bridge and traveling. Her belief in “everything in moderation” as it relates to eating as well as physical and mental exercise has kept her healthy and hearty enough to celebrate her milestone birthday on Jan. 22 in Salisbury near her middle daughter, Mary James. So happy 100th, Stephanie Miller!

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