Norman Leo "Buck" Millikin, 75, of Bozeman and a coal miner's son, passed away Sunday, March 2, 2014. He was born in a small town in southern Illinois to William and Thelma Millikin. He was one of nine children, raised on a working farm in Pinckneyville.
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Norm's professional life's work was teaching; something he loved and did with a passion. He completed his undergraduate work in Greeley, Colo. It was there he met and married his wife, Vicki.
Norm continued his higher education, earning his master's and doctoral degrees from Oregon State University, at which time two sons and one daughter had been born. A second daughter arrived years later, completing the family.
He began his professional career at a Boise high school, then taught at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Ore. In 1971, he began his career as a professor of business and marketing at Montana State University. After over 33 years, Norm retired and formed a marketing company with two former students. He was also a consultant for several businesses throughout the state and served as director for the Montana Council of Economic Education for many years. Most currently, he taught business classes at Montana Bible College and served on the board of directors.
Montana State University has established, through their endowment program, a scholarship in Norm's name that will be presented each year to a deserving College of Business student.
Norm was known to be a casual golfer, hitting the links just a time or two in his lifetime. (OK… maybe more than a few times!) He was also an avid MSU Bobcat fan and a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan.
Music spoke to his soul. In the 1980s, Norm and his sons formed a bluegrass/gospel group called Bridger Run. He served on the Sweet Pea board as president for several years and was instrumental in introducing Christian praise music artists as part of Sunday worship at Sweet Pea. That love of music was handed down to all four of his children, who had the great honor of recently giving him a night of praise songs in the living room.
Serving the Lord was one of the most important commitments of Norm's life. Home bible studies, youth groups, counseling, mentoring, teaching adult Sunday school classes, chairing the elder board, and singing on the worship team at E-Free were just a few of the ministries in which he felt called to serve.
There are not adequate enough words to express the love he had for his family. Whether it was floating the Madison River, fishing, golf, music events or simply driving around to look at lights during Christmas, it was all about being with family.
Fathers shape their sons to be the men they become. Norm's best traits are being carried on by his two sons. And to his daughters, he provided nurturing support and loving guidance and was extremely proud of the strong women they are today. And to Vicki, he truly loved her through life's journey as they forged a 50-year bond of love and strength.
Norm joined his parents and brothers, Eugene, Don, Frank, Carl and Billie in Heaven.
Looking forward to seeing Norm again are his wife, Vicki; son, Marshall (Deb-TN), son, Aaron (Jeni-Va.); daughter, Marlo (Bill-Mont.) and daughter, Carli (Shawn-Mont.); grandchildren, Shyla and Tucker (Va.), Keegan and Brady (Bozeman), Angela (Paul-Tenn.), Christie (Tenn.) and Stephanie (Tenn.); and great-grandchildren, Jayden, Parker and Alyson (Tenn.). Also awaiting the day they will see Norm again are his sisters, Rosalie (Ron-Ill.), Ruth (Chuck-Ill.) and Halene (John-Mich.); as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Norm's life-walk verse:
Psalm 15: "Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He who walks straight, and who does what is right, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong, and casts no slur on his fellow man, who despises a vial man, but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who is generous without greed… He who does these things will never be shaken."
A celebration of Norm's life will be held Saturday, March 8, at 10 a.m. at Evangelical Free Church. An open house will follow at the Millikin home.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Norm's name may be made to Montana Bible College/Scholarship Fund, 3625 South 19th, Bozeman, MT 59718, or Alive Again Life Recovery Missions, P.O. Box 10001, Bozeman, MT 59719.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from Mar. 6 to Mar. 8, 2014