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Serving with respect and making valuable use of their time defines a true servant with whom God is well pleased. With these admirable traits, servant leaders encourage and instruct those under their direction to effectively serve God first and others secondly while mindfully glorifying God in all endeavors. Such was the case with Patricia Chisolm-Miller, the epitome of a servant leader possessing six characteristics of true leadership Integrity, Humility, Flexibility, Resilience, Stewardship, and Empathy.
Born November 10, 1958, to Mr. and Mrs. John Oliver and Author Lee Chisolm in Brooklyn, New York, Patricia moved to Waco, Texas at an early age. Under the leadership of Pastor N.T. Burks at Toliver Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Patricia participated in the children and youth choirs, the youth ministry, Sunday School, and Bible School. Integrity was evident in her life at an early age as she matriculated through public schools in Waco Independent School District and graduated from Richfield High School. Her academic excellence brought her recognition and honor as a Toliver Chapel Youth of Distinction.
Colossians 3:12 says, “Wrap yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience because God has chosen you to be the holy people he loves.” As a young adult, Patricia moved into another level of servant leadership: Humility. She served with mercy and kindness in her role of leading others, and she was always willing to listen and learn. Patricia served faithfully as the Co-director of Bible School, a teacher, a member of the Pictorial Directory Committee, the Women’s Day Committee Chairperson, First President of the Celestial Voices’ Choir, a member of the Sanctuary Choir, and when she married Deacon Robert Miller in 2015, she became a Deaconess.
Patricia graduated from East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. While there, she pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and served throughout the years in many capacities, including Parliamentarian and Chair of the Bylaws and Standards Committee. In the Delta Alpha Omega Chapter, she was currently on the Advocate for Social Justice Program Initiatives Committee and the Mentoring Committee. As a charter member of the Waco National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club, she served as the Second Vice-President.
In the past, Patricia held some interesting positions. She operated the computer lab in three Waco ISD schools and facilitated several women’s programs at Texas State Technical College. However, it was not until she and her sister, Teresa, volunteered to work on the late Commissioner Lester Gibson’s successful campaign, that Patricia stepped into her calling. Always interested in public service, Patricia became Commissioner Gibson’s executive assistant, a position she held for twenty-two (22) years.
Flexibility and Resilience are important virtues of servant leaders, who are prepared to change with the times and environments. They understand that unforeseen circumstances and obstacles might arise in life; however, through Jesus, they know they will rise in victory. In 2018, Patricia Chisolm-Miller successfully ran for County Commissioner, Precinct 2, making her the first woman and African American female elected to the court in McLennan County. A servant leader from the heart, she was reelected in 2023. In this position, she always faced many obstacles and disappointments, but through them all, she was flexible and resilient. Often in the late hours of the night, while others were sleeping, Commissioner Miller was awake, working diligently on projects like securing industrial development programs, improving infrastructure, and achieving equal and fair opportunities for all citizens. Conversations with her constituents for whom she successfully fought to get salary increases, with the elderly who had no means of connection or transportation to get their first COVID-19 vaccinations, and with young adults and their families who face food insecurities daily were proof that she was built for such a time as this to lead with compassion, flexibility, and resilience for her fellowmen. Her newest venture was the radio program, What’s Going On? which began in January 2024 on 107.3 The Beat.
Servant leaders make the most of their time for God’s glory and not for personal gain. They can easily put themselves in others’ shoes to know and experience their pain. Stewardship and Empathy, it seems, were Commissioner Miller’s greatest qualities. She was organized and considerate of others in every aspect, and she often sat with her friends and family encouraging them, guiding them, and loving them amid hard times. Her gentle, yet powerful voice, made people want to follow her. Her kindness knew no limits, and her word was her bond. There were no small people in her eyes, and she had a special way of making people know they were important to her.
In total, Commissioner Miller served Precinct 2, McLennan County for twenty-eight (28) years. As a black woman in her position, she was always conscientious about setting an example of excellence for all young people in the community. Commissioner Patricia Chisolm-Miller was a trailblazer and a visionary, and with the help of her talented and devoted executive assistant, Tracy Guillory, Commissioner Miller worked tirelessly to open doors, tell our stories, and get into “good trouble.”
Commissioner Patricia Ann Chisolm-Miller closed her eyes for the last time on Sunday, January 28, 2024. She was preceded in death by her parents and younger sister, Teresa Chisolm-Jones.
She leaves to cherish her memory, the only love of her life, Deacon Robert Miller Sr.; a sister, Jocelyn Bennett; two sons, Robert Miller Jr. (Sonya), and Reginald Miller (Sherry); five grandchildren, Mercedes Brown (Otis), Sienna Miller, Faith Miller, Monique Miller, and RJ Miller; three great-grandchildren, Leilani Livingston, Mazi Brown, and Oaklynn Brown; her beloved nieces and nephews, Monica Bennett King, Malcolm Bennett, Jr., Chloe Chisolm, Oliver Jones, Jeremiah Bennett, Mi’Onica King, Marquees King, Malcolm Bennett III, Jazmine King, London Bennett, Za’Miha Bennett, Cha’Leesi Chisolm-Brown, and Skylar Cheatham, the Toliver Chapel Family, and a host of other relatives and friends.