Billie Noreen Miller

Billie Miller_cropped2BOTHELL – Billie Noreen Miller (née Neely),   who spent her working career helping battered women and people with addictions, died Dec. 26, 2012 in her Bothell home. She was 69.


Visitation was Dec. 31 at Barton Family Funeral Service of Kirkland. Her family is planning a Celebration of her Life on February 3, at the Lake City Presbyterian Church at 3pm. Her ashes will be interred in Wenatchee, as well as spread at the family cabin on the Entiat River in the early summer time.


Billie was born July 29, 1943 in Wenatchee, the daughter of William C. and Elleyne (Lunan) Neely. While she was a toddler, her father was an Army staff sergeant who saw action in the Rhineland, Northern France, Central Europe and the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.


Her father’s family moved to the region from Pennsylvania and Arkansas by covered wagon in the early 1900s; her grandfather, Clark Neely, was an engineer for Great Northern Railway. Her mother’s forebears were Irish-Canadians and indigenous people from the Skagit and Snohomish nations.


Billie attended Wenatchee public schools, worked in Grand Teton National Park in 1962, and graduated from Wenatchee Valley Community College. She later earned a horticulture degree at Edmonds Community College and a counseling certificate at Seattle University. She was married to Dale Quentin Miller of Wenatchee from 1964-1983; they lived in Cosmopolis and Seattle. Billie and daughter Sue traveled to New Zealand and Vanuatu in the South Pacific in 1995 to visit Lisa and Chad who were serving in the Peace Corps. This around-the-world trip was an adventure she always remembered.


She worked for the Alcohol & Drug Helpline for 10 years, counseling people in crisis over the phone, often at night. In a report she wrote in 1984, she called her work at the Helpline “one of the bright spots in my life today.” For 15 years, she was Volunteer Coordinator and Trainer at New Beginnings, which provides advocacy, shelter and support for battered women and their children. She retired in 2010.


The cabin on the Entiat River, where her family has spent their summers for five generations, was a place of nurture and comfort for her, and she cherished her time there. Billie spent many hours taking long walks, gathering pine cones, mushrooms, rocks, small animal bones, and other miniature treasures, sharing with her grandkids the magic of the natural world. Billie could often be found reading a good book on the back porch, listening to the river and cooking pancakes and trout on the griddle for breakfast.


Billie had many wonderful friends. She loved seeing her girlfriends from Wenatchee High School (’61) every year and she loved and cherished friends from the Helpline and New Beginnings as well as many others. We will all miss her very much.

She is survived by her daughters, Lisa (Chad) Port of Seattle and Susan (Jack) Bergquist of Shoreline; grandchildren, Gabriel (Gabe) Port, Rosemary (Rosie) Port and Zachary (Zach) Bergquist; sister, Molly (Richard) Neely-Walker of Poulsbo; and numerous cousins and close friends.


A Celebration of her Life will be held on February 3, 2013 at the Lake City Presbyterian Church in Seattle, at 2 PM. Current information regarding the memorial can be found on Billie’s Facebook page at  In lieu of flowers, please send memorial contributions to New Beginnings, P.O. Box 75125, Seattle, WA. 98175-0125.Billie Miller_2 (1 of 1)-2


God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference


11 Responses to “Billie Noreen Miller”

  • Steve Allen says:

    I shall always remember you, and your family.

  • Carol betts says:

    I will always remember and cherish my times with Billie. She was a great friend and inspiration to me! May she be planting her new garden wherever she is!

  • Paula Johnson Burke says:

    I always loved to see Billie when I volunteered at New Beginnings for several years. She shared her happiness about her cabin and her adoration of her grandkids. I respected her work at New Beginnings and her ability to make the most of situations. When I asked to switch my weekly volunteer day so I could take a cake decorating class, Billie “cashed in” this favor to ask me to make a cake for a coworker’s wedding shower–I was happy to be asked.

  • Lori Stiffler Garrett says:

    Billie was always my safehouse when I was a troubled teen. She felt like a second mom to me and I will always be thankful for her kindness and love. She will be greatly missed. Everyone must plant a flower in her honor this spring and she will be our ray of sunshine to help it grow.

  • Patti Spaulding-Klewin says:

    Very find memories of sharing Billie’s garden with Lisa, Chad and Sue. She will be missed!

  • deborah r clise says:

    Hello Family of Billie

    My friend and mentor has her angel wings and your written word about who she was and all that she has done is a fitting tribute. Don’t know when I will take her off my phone or email list, I always wanted to know she was there for me and she always has been. love to you all see you on Feb 3rd. lovlingly Deborah

  • Marilyn Knutson says:

    Billie is still on my e-mail and phone list, too. It’s a comfort to see her there. She had this wonderful voice. She will be sorely missed.

  • Trese Todd says:

    If only I could find the words to share with you how much Billie meant to me. Not only did her work at New Beginnings inspire me, but her abiding wisdom and guiding hand literally transformed my life. Billie is the reason I was a volunteer at the New Beginnings Confidential Shelter for so many years. Billie is the reason I joined the Thrivers Action Group. She will always be remembered with love and admiration by so many who were fortunate enough to know her. Blessings to you and yours …

  • Nancy Dela Cruz says:

    Billie and I were friends in church in our teen years, and in high school. I moved away, and didn’t see her for a long time, but in recent years, our old gang started getting together every summer when I would visit Washington. These recent memories are such a blessing to me now. I’m so glad I was able to see her in July. I wish I could hug you one more time…… I’ll miss you dear old friend….and I like the idea of planting a flower for you this spring.

  • Sher Roth says:

    So many memories…count me among those still holding onto Billie’s phone and e-address…dear friend, fun pal, trusted confidante for 32+ years! Tim and I moved from Edmonds to Vashon to Long Beach…and Billie always seemed nearby…even as miles and time passed. Close in age and personal history, we shared the joys and journeys of each other and our families. Wherever/Whatever is Heaven, Billie is having a GREAT time, free of our least favorite journey…aging!!…and now come Spring, I’ll finally get to visit the family cabin…subject of so many stories and photos shared over the years…

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