Dr. Mary Elizabeth Bates Milliken, 90, died on September 8, 2013, in Athens.
Born in Winston-Salem, N.C., to Howard E. Bates Sr. and Mattie Gamal Bates, she was the youngest of five siblings. Known to her friends as Bettye, she graduated in 1939 from R.J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem. After graduating from the Duke University School of Nursing, she worked for a doctor in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Having met and married Harry Arthur Milliken in 1947, Bettye moved back to the States and settled in Raleigh, N.C., where she progressed from nursing in clinical settings to coordinating a practical nursing program. Upon completion of her master's and doctorate degrees from North Carolina State University, Dr. Milliken worked briefly at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction before taking a post at Marshall University, in Huntington, W.V.
While in Raleigh, Dr. Milliken worked diligently to improve the quality of health care, including leading the campaign to require licensing for practical nurses. At Marshall University, she established a graduate program in Health Occupations Teacher Education. Two years later, in 1971, she assumed a position with the University of Georgia
, in Athens, to establish a similar program.
While a resident of Athens, Dr. Milliken was active in community affairs, particularly the Athens Justice Project. She retired from the University in 1987 as a full professor. After retirement, she studied and received certification in the energy medicine technique called Healing Touch. She maintained a part-time Healing Touch practice well into her 80s.
Dr. Milliken was preceded in death by her parents, four older brothers, and a daughter, Susan Milliken Van Slyke. She is survived by her other four children: Harry A. Milliken Jr., of Sacramento, Calif.; the Rev. Betty Jane M. Honeycutt, of Lexington, N.C.; Howard E. Milliken, of Athens; and L. Scott Milliken, of Louisville, Ky. She is also survived by nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
A reception in remembrance of Dr. Milliken is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 5, at Sandy Creek Park.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent either to the Athens Justice Project, P.O. Box 447, Athens, GA 30603; or to the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, 2450 S. Milledge Ave., Athens, GA 30605.