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Milburn E. Calhoun

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Milburn E. Calhoun Obituary
Calhoun, Milburn E., M.D.

A bookman, publisher, philanthropist and retired physician, Dr. Milburn E. Calhoun died Saturday, January 7, 2012, at West Jefferson Hospital in New Orleans following a lengthy illness. He was 81.

Services will be held Thursday, January 12, 2012, at 11:00 AM, in the chapel of Kilpatrick Funeral Home, West Monroe, LA, conducted by Dr. Lionel Crowell with interment immediately following at Sibley Cemetery in Choudrant, LA.

Visitation will be from 9:30 AM until service time.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Darrell L. and Mary Crowell Calhoun and is survived by wife Nancy Harris Calhoun of New Orleans, sister Gloria Calhoun Lee of Calhoun, LA, brother James L. Calhoun of Baton Rouge, daughter Kathleen Calhoun Nettleton and her husband Carl Joseph Nettleton of New Orleans, son David Harris Calhoun and his wife Sharon Crosland Calhoun of Spokane, WA, granddaughters Susan, Leslie, Sophia and Heather, all of Spokane, WA, and nieces and nephews.

Born in West Monroe, LA on January 15, 1930, he was a graduate of Ouachita Parish High School, 1947, Northeast Junior College, 1949, Louisiana State University, 1951, and the LSU School of Medicine, 1955. After an internship at New Orleans Charity Hospital, 1955-56, he practiced medicine in Buras for nine years, interrupted by two years in the United States Air Force where he attained the rank of major. He practiced medicine at Nicholson, Baehr, Calhoun Family Clinic in Marrero, LA from 1965 until his retirement in 1997. He also served as chief of staff at West Jefferson Hospital. He was a longtime member of Oak Park Baptist Church where he served as a deacon and in numerous support positions. A lifelong bibliophile, he was a recognized expert on rare books. He founded Bayou Books, an old, rare and out-of-print book dealer specializing in Louisiana and southern subjects, and in 1961 opened a Gretna bookstore by the same name. In 1970, he and family members acquired Pelican Publishing Company, a small New Orleans book publishing company that they relocated to Gretna. Over the next four decades the company expanded its list of published titles from 22 to more than 2000. Today Pelican's books are sold in every state and virtually every English-speaking country in the world. With a sharp eye for finding books for which there was a strong market, in 1974 he signed a contract to publish Zig Ziglar's runaway motivational bestseller See You at the Top, which had been rejected by some 30 other publishers. Thirty-seven years later the book remains in print after almost 60 printings and more than 1.8 million hardcover copies sold in more than a dozen languages. He also developed the Louisiana classic Cajun Night Before Christmas series which today includes some 29 titles with more than half a million copies in print. In 1998 he funded the Mary and Darrell Calhoun Recreational Center at the Louisiana Baptist Children's Home in Monroe, and in 1999 he endowed the one-million-dollar Mary E. and Darrell L. Calhoun Chair in Pharmacology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. He and his wife established the Milburn and Nancy Calhoun Foundation in 2009 to support religious and educational activities. Donations may be made to the Foundation at 9 Muirfield Place, New Orleans, LA 70131.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Kilpatrick Funeral Home

West Monroe, LA

Published in The News Star on Jan. 11, 2012
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