Gene Milner 2/13/13
By tradition today is a day of mourning.
Instead today, on behalf of my Mother
Becky, my sister Lisa, my brothers
Marty & Hugh, my loving wife and friend, Teresa and many of you, we choose to use this opportunity to celebrate the life of our Father and Friend, Gene Milner.
Let's take a moment to remember him for the lasting effect his life and the manner in which he lived it has had and will continue to have on many.
I wasn't born Milner but I was loved and
raised Milner. My name is Robert Milner and for that I am extremely proud. At an early age our father began to build the person I am today. Some may say that our father was a tough man, but fair is more accurate.
I've made many mistakes in my life, but my father never judged me. Instead he used those moments to coach and mentor me – to insure I learned from them.
You see, life has consequences for every decision we make - some good, some bad. It is what we learn from those moments that define us.
Our Father had a unique ability to maximize the positive results from those moments.
Our Father and I had a very unique and
deeply connected relationship. While
Gene was not my birth father, Dad's love, council, and the integrity in which he lived his life are the foundation of the man who stands before you.
It is said that there is no better example of the life a person lives than to look at those whose lives have crossed his path and see the impact and influence of his character and wisdom.
Our father was such a man to many - me, my siblings, and to many of you.
Let's take a moment to reflect on the
character of Gene Milner. Many of you
have experienced his great character either by his reputation or in person.
Our father, friend, leader was a selfless and humble man who was without peer in character, fortitude, integrity, and charity.
As I share some of my personal
experiences, I encourage you to reflect on your own memories and experiences.
Gene was a SCHOLAR & MENTOR.
I have spoken with many who shared stories of how he helped lead the initial years of the Memphis Police Academy to become what it is today. His commitment to the academy and excellence was an example to all who encountered him while he was assigned to the Police Academy.
I so enjoyed Dad's passion for knowledge! This passion is something he and I shared deeply.
We shared many a philosophical discussion and debate over the years - - and his non-judgmental and open-minded council molded me into the leader in my professional career and community I am today.
His gift to me of his analytical ability many times was the difference between catastrophic results and not. He taught me to analyze situations in life and in business in a way that guides me to the best choice at those difficult forks in the road.
We had a unique and deeply connected
and mentoring relationship. In our many moments of privacy and confidence he helped me understand myself and counseled me through some of the toughest times a man can face and in ways many people never get the opportunity to.
Some of my thoughts today will confuse many, most likely including my family.
Because you see my father and I shared a type of bond - - - that trust and knowledge of a part of my life very few people know. We shared the camaraderie and brotherhood of service and brotherhood on a very deep level. Simply put. We got each other.
The path of self-doubt and questioning ourselves to our inner core in the most testing and extreme of circumstances is something that can only be understood by those who have walked together through those footsteps of life.
Our father was an extremely Benevolent
man who would give the last shirt off of his back. His benevolence led me to
understand my duty to service and fully
embrace the blessings and gifts I have and the responsibility to give back to those less fortunate.
Our father was a Fountain of WISDOM.
He taught us that “We are only as weak - or as strong - as we allow our minds to let us be, and that physical and mental challenges can be conquered through the strength of our mind.”
Dad was so wise. He imparted words of
wisdom such as this throughout my life.
The last time I spent with my father when he was in a cognizant state, we took a walk down memory lane - we looked back and remembered many times we shared in discussion about the challenges in service and life.
In our last hour we shared and laughed
about the many times I felt I had been
challenged to my core and he found ways of counsel to embody and personify my ability to continue on. He is one of a few who have been there in every difficult challenge and test laid before me and we shared that bond in his last moments of mentoring with me.
Even at this fragile point in his life, Dad had words of wisdom for me. As he lay there I told him he is the reason I am who I am today and he smiled and I'll never forget his words: he told me that “I am who I am and have overcome what I have because I chose to, because I didn't understand the word quit, and that more than anything I lived my life with integrity in every decision I made.”
Like most great men, Dad was incredibly
Humble to the end. As we spoke Hand in hand - He told me he knew he wouldn't be around to take care of the family much longer and asked me to take care of them.
Then He squeezed my hand, smiled and told me he was proud of me – that he was proud to be my father. There is no greater words a son can hear from his father than that.
So, Dad I say to you that I too am proud.
Proud of the path you led, proud of the
example you are, and most importantly
proud of the footprints and legacy you left for us to follow. In life we are only as good as we are when we face adversity. It is how we represent ourselves in those moments, many times when no one else is around, that defines us throughout life. I can only hope that I have taken all that you have given and taught me and use it to make a positive impact on all those who cross my path.
Eugene Lee Milner prepared me - He prepared us to face life and all it offers you with the same dignity, integrity, intestinal fortitude, and thankfulness that he himself embodied in his life. For that I am forever thankful and truly blessed.
Dad - I salute you and all you stood for. We love you. May God Truly Bless you.
February 13, 2013