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Four-term Citrus Heights councilman passes away

File photo, Steve Miller talks during a Sept. 21, 2021 neighborhood association meeting. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip—
Steve Miller, who was elected to represent Citrus Heights on the San Juan school board just five months ago after serving for 17 years on the City Council, died unexpectedly on Saturday, March 25.

The City of Citrus Heights announced Miller’s passing in a March 27 release, noting his dedication to the community.

“It is with much sadness we share that retired City Councilmember Steve ‘Sparky’ Miller passed away over the weekend,” the city said in the release. “Steve had an incredible heart of service that he dedicated to serving our Citrus Heights community for 17 years on the City Council and, most recently, was elected to the Board of San Juan Unified School District.”

A page dedicated to Miller was published on the city’s website Monday, saying he will also be remembered for his sense of humor and his work to represent Citrus Heights on a number of area boards and commissions.

“Steve Miller embodied what it meant to be involved in community and his passion for service truly made a difference and improved Citrus Heights,” Mayor Tim Schaefer said in a statement published by the city. “Steve was a great storyteller and brought wonderful insight to the Citrus Heights City Council. Steve’s legacy of accomplishments will live in the hearts and memories of a great many people that expand beyond the Citrus Heights City Limits.”

Miller worked on a number of high-profile development projects in Citrus Heights, including the Sunrise Tomorrow Specific Plan and the Mitchell Farms development. He also had a hand in the revitalization of the Auburn Boulevard corridor.

“Steve made a tremendous impact in Citrus Heights and the Sacramento Region,” Councilwoman Porsche Middleton said. “I especially admired his staunch advocacy of transportation and our youth. He will be deeply missed by our community.”

Vice Mayor Bret Daniels said Miller will leave a lasting impact on the local community.

“Steve was a joy to work with and his leadership was always thoughtful but also delivered with humor,” Daniels said. “The world has lost a great man way too early.”

The San Juan Unified School District, where Miller briefly held a seat representing Citrus Heights, announced his passing in a March 26 release.

“It is with great sadness that we learned of San Juan Unified Board of Education member Steve Miller’s unexpected passing this weekend,” the announcement said.

Miller was elected to represent Citrus Heights on the newly expanded San Juan Unified School board last November after serving on the Citrus Heights city council and taking his turn as mayor. His son, Travis Miller, is a teacher at Mesa Verde.

Miller told The Sentinel in a June 2021 interview that his life of community service was an effort to improve the lives of those around him.

“That’s why I enjoy doing what I’m doing,” Steve Miller said. “It’s where the rubber meets the pavement and you can see the results of what you’re doing.”

Miller is survived by his wife, two children, and six grandchildren.

See 2021 interview with Miller: Citrus Heights dad, son share passion for community service

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