ORONO – Milton C. Hillery died Jan. 15, 2013, at a Bangor hospital. He was born Aug. 7, 1933, in Scandia, Kan., son of Melvin C. and Aldine Hillery.
Milton graduated from Waupun (Wis.) High School, attended Wisconsin State Teacher’s College where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history and secondary education, and Michigan State University where he earned a Master of Science degree in guidance counseling and a doctorate in educational psychology. In 1952, Milton married Lois Vande Zande with whom he had five children. In 1976, Milton married his current wife, Mary Anne Reuter, mother of three. In 2005, the Maine People’s Alliance recognized Milton with their Against the Tide Award for his contributions to the MPA campaign to reform Maine tax code. This award was emblematic of Milton’s lifelong commitment to community service and activism, which included fighting racial segregation and discrimination during the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and ’60s, service to Hispanic League of Racine, volunteer work for Maine Public Broadcasting and Bangor Symphony Orchestra to name only a few. Milton began his professional career as a high school history teacher in Markesan, Wis., and retired as a research and program development associate at Training Development Corp., Bucksport. The intervening years found Milton working as a college professor, education researcher, college administrator, regional director, vice president and more. His closest friends and family knew Milton as a Packers fan, a Hawkeye fan, a classical-music lover, a phantom-orchestra conductor, a shaker of popcorn kernels, a chopper of wood, and an impersonator of birdies. His favorite joke was “Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?” His favorite song from a musical was “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” A friend said of Milton, “he was loved for his intellect, honesty, compassion and relentless commitment to fairness. He believed in the principles of tolerance, justice, and equal rights and worked tirelessly to support and promote these principles.”
Milton was predeceased by his parents; nephew, Daniel; and youngest daughter, Luann. He is survived by a sister, Mary; niece, Judy; wife, Mary Anne; seven children, Linda, Mike, Tim, Mark, Brian, Matthew and Andrew; 22 grandchildren, Kristin, Emily, Gretchen, Robert, Amanda, Rachel, Marcus, Jessica, Joshua, Michael, Eric, Matthew, Rebekah, Max, Hillary, Rickey, Cisco, Elisabeth, Jack, Morgan, Riley and Samantha; and 10 great-grandchildren, Bennet, Maeden, RJ, JR, Whitney, Croix, Hayden, Kayleigh, Payton and Jaydon.
A celebration of Milt’s life will be held at a future date. Donations in his name may be made to Maine People’s Alliance, 27 State St., Bangor, ME 04401, 207-990-0672; or Bangor Symphony Orchestra, P.O. Box 1441, Bangor, ME 04402, 207-942-5555. A service of Brookings-Smith, 133 Center St., Bangor. Condolences to the family may be expressed at