An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

Contact Information
Friends of The Daily Texan, Inc.
1401 Lavaca St
Austin, TX 78701

[email protected]

Long-time Hays County, San Marcos journalist dies

From the Hays Free Press

Award-winning journalist Anita Miller Byley, who dedicated more than four decades to telling the stories of the people of Hays County, died Oct. 26, with her husband David Byley and family by her side at Ascension Seton Hospital in Kyle.

Miller served as managing editor of the Hays Free Press for more than a year before ill health required her to step down. She worked at the San Marcos Daily Record for 39 years.

A graduate of the University of Texas with a degree in journalism in 1975, she joined the Record in 1980.

She mentored student journalists and rising stars, outlasted dozens of reporters, some of whom moved to larger publications. Her collegiality inspired excellence and ambition.

She was devoted to chronicling the lives of the people of Hays County — through disasters and recovery, achievements and victories, icons and a few villains.

At the Record, Miller rose through the ranks from being a reporter in 1980 to managing editor in 2015.  For many years, she was the only photographer for the newspaper.

Her love for the San Marcos community, the river, and local organizations inspired her to support their efforts by telling their stories.

In the aftermath of the 2015 floods, Miller was in Martindale, writing a story about a donation center for flood victims. When she finished her story, she spent the rest of the night driving members of the riverside community to their flood ravaged homes to inspect the damage and determine what they could salvage.

While reporting an event at the Devil’s Backbone, she saw that two dogs had the misfortune of encountering a porcupine. Miller spent several hours at a veterinary clinic helping to pull quills from the dogs.

Another time, covering an EMS emergency response to a heart attack victim, she held an IV bag to assist the medics.

Miller won numerous journalism awards from the Texas Press Association, South Texas Press Association and the Associated Press.

She was inducted into the San Marcos Women’s Hall of Fame in 2018 and presented with the Friend of the River Award by the San Marcos River Foundation in 2013. She also was honored by Hays County and the city of San Marcos for her achievements.

Miller was born on Nov. 16, 1952 in Port Lavaca to the late Anita Estelle Campbell and Burnice “Bud” Gwyn Miller. Bud served as an Army Sergeant in WWII, was wounded in Africa, and returned home to marry Anita, who owned a children’s clothing store.

Her parents managed The Catclaw dancehall and then a ranch before settling down in Port Lavaca as the Mobil Oil Company Consignee. Her beloved uncle Leonard Miller was a great influence in her life and helped her achieve her education. Fishing was a family joy, as were trips to the beach in Port Aransas.

Miller attended Calhoun High School in Port Lavaca where she was a leader in the student council’s fight to change the dress code for girls, finally allowing them to wear pantsuits instead of only dresses.

Miller sewed many of her own clothes and was named Best Dressed her senior year. She was also named Most Beautiful Hair. Family folklore has it that due to a near fatal case of pneumonia when Miller was 6 years old, her hair changed from brown, coarse and wavy to the sleek jet-black hair she was known for.

Miller graduated from CHS in the top 10 of her class in 1971 and attended The University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a B.A. in Journalism. She was an active member of the First United Methodist Church.

She married musician David Byley on Nov. 11, 1984, at the Veramendi Plaza Gazebo in San Marcos and they devoted the next 37 years to each other, living for many years in a house near Martindale on the San Marcos River.

Miller persisted despite many personal challenges, surviving a rattlesnake bite, cancer and a broken hip.

Miller is survived by her husband David, her sisters Susan Tippit, Gloria Crone, and Betsy McDaniel, brothers-in-law Allen Tippit, Gary Crone, and Terry McDaniel; nieces and nephews Remi Chaisson Miller Tippit Keathly, Hannah Estelle Crone, Lori McDaniel Henry, T.J. McDaniel, Julissa Lopez and Gary Crone Jr., and second cousins Beth Nichols Gibson and Kelly Nichols.

A celebration of Miller’s life will be planned in the coming weeks.