James Robert Milam
He was born in Seattle on March 3, 1922 and passed there, 94 years rich, on May 6, 2016. His family of eight, father Carey Harris Milam, mother Ruth Helen Milam, and six children, moved around the State of Washington from Quilcene to Kennewick to Yakima to Edmonds and, finally, to Bothell where he graduated from Bothell High School in 1940. After a stint at Boeing as a riveter, he signed up for the United States Air Force just before Pearl Harbor. He first worked as an aerial photographer, became an aviation cadet and earned his wings as a pilot in July, 1943. He was deployed overseas for combat in North Africa, Italy, China and Burma as a member of the 57th Squadron of the 33rd Fighter Group, flying mostly P-47s but a few missions in P-38s. He stepped in to help relieve the remnant of the Flying Tiger squadron, by then suffering combat fatigue, and flew the last six missions of the Flying Tiger squadron in P-40 planes over China. He was promoted to First Lieutenant and became a flight leader flying 86 combat missions and earning four Theatre Ribbons, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with a Cluster.
He earned a Bachelors degree (1949), Masters degree (1952) and Ph.D. (1959) in psychology from the University of Washington and worked as a licensed clinical psychologist in Washington and California. It was as Behavioral Research Director at Enzomedic Labs in Seattle that he first analyzed studies of recovering alcoholics and understood abstinence from alcohol, for even a brief period, eliminated the psychiatric symptoms of most recovering alcoholics. This led him to conclude such psychiatric symptoms are characteristic not of the person, but of the brain pathology of the acute and protracted period of withdrawal from alcohol. This insight paved the way for his treatment philosophy for recovering alcoholics of abstinence, good nutrition and behavioral normalization rather than prolonged, misdirected, and often ineffective, psychiatric treatment. He articulated his treatment philosophy in the classic book Under the Influence and practiced it in treatment programs including Alcenas Hospital Addiction Treatment Center and Lakeside-Milam Recovery Center.
The world knew him as Dr. James R. Milam; we knew him best as Bob, Jim, Dad and Grandpa. He raised up three children, Kathryn Milam, May-Rose Reece and David Waid, two of whom followed him into the sky, one into science. And, as he wished, our Grandpa spent his last months living in the heart of his family with grandchildren Kiril, Dmitry, Elena, Esubalew and Julia, sharing the daily tales of strike-out pitches from the mound, jaw-dropping stops in the soccer goal box, improved grades, college prospects and his beloved Mariners and Seahawks. Grandpa enjoyed watching our pups' playful skirmishes and he sparred daily with kitty Bug over rights to the milk in his glass at the kitchen table.
He is preceded in passing by life-partner Beverly Jean Milam and survived by his children, grandchildren, three siblings and many nieces, nephews and friends.
All are welcome to celebrate the life of Dr. James R. Milam on Sunday, June 6, 2016, from 1:30 -
3:30 PM, at Lakeside-Milam Recovery Center, 10322 NE 132nd St., Kirkland, WA 98034. In lieu of flowers, please donate in his name to the Seattle Animal Shelter or World Association for Children and Parents ("WACAP") in Renton, WA, both organizations near to his heart.
We love you, we miss you ~ soar
free and wild our precious Eagle.
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Published by The Seattle Times from May 29 to Jun. 5, 2016.