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William Jennings Milliken

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William Jennings Milliken Longtime San Anselmo resident William J. Milliken, a retired business executive and a former president of the University of California Alumni Association, died in a Greenbrae retirement home on June 25, from congestive heart failure. He was 93. A true-blue Bear backer, Mr. Milliken sported a blue bachelor-button flower in his lapel in honor of his alma mater. Courtly in manner, yet affable and warm, he greeted friends with, "Welcome aboard," or "How are you, sport?" Many friends called him Uncle Willie. Mr. Milliken retired as president of Stewart-Hill, a food service management company. Born in Seattle on Oct. 24, 1912, young Bill grew up in San Francisco. His father died when Bill was a teenager, and his mother worked to support the family's five children. While attending UC Berkeley, he managed the university's basketball team. He graduated from Cal in 1934 and devoted himself to the school for the rest of his life. Mr. Milliken was a member of the Big C Society, Order of the Golden Bear, Winged Helmet, Skull and Keys, and Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. From 1983 to 1985 he served - with great pride - as president of the California Alumni Association. As recently as ten days before his death he enjoyed a two-martini lunch at the UC Faculty Club. During World War II, he served in the US Navy in the Pacific theater. He remained a member of the Naval Reserve for 30 years, rising to the rank of captain. Early in his career, Mr. Milliken held posts as general manager and comptroller of St. Mary's College in Moraga, where he was also an instructor in investments and insurance. After the death of his first wife, Deborah Helen Pike Milliken, he married Patricia Alexander, also a UC graduate. During their retirement years, he and his wife traveled the world. He was a member of the Bohemian Club, the Olympic Club, the UC Berkeley Faculty Club and the Commonwealth Club of California. In Marin County he belonged to the Lagunitas Club and the Meadow Club. In addition to his first wife, he was predeceased by his brother, George Milliken; and his sisters, Mozelle Morey; Dorothy Bullen; and Henrietta Schoenfeld. Mr. Milliken is survived by his wife, Patricia Alexander Milliken; and his daughters, Nancy of New Mexico; and Mary of Woodacre; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. In accordance with Mr. Milliken's wishes, no services will be held. Family members suggest that any memorial contributions be made to the California Alumni Association, c/o Bill Milliken Memorial Fund, attn: Elena Vasquez, 1 Alumni House, Berkeley, CA 94720-7520.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from July 1 to July 2, 2006
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