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Obituary of John Watson Milton
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A TRIBUTE TO MY BELOVED HUSBAND JOHN WATSON MILTON (1935 – 2023) You live by the light you find. And the light I found was you! My beloved husband John Milton was truly a Renaissance man. He was a business executive, politician, writer and even a race car driver. He enjoyed writing, playing the guitar, cooking, reading, growing grapes, good music, politics, travel, and entertaining family and friends. His favorite sports were sailing, skiing, soccer and tennis. He spoke three languages. John was well educated but was continually seeking new knowledge and pursuits. He was a brilliant, caring and affectionate man. He is my soulmate and the love of my life. OUR LOVE STORY: John was a romantic and always believed in true love, which alluded him until we came together as a couple. A love match 25 years in the making. John and I met in March 1975 when he was co-chairing a joint legislative committee investigating nursing home scandals and I was a young complaint team coordinator for the Minnesota Health Department. There was nothing romantic about our encounters: talking to his staff (What do you know?) and before his committee (What do you know?). His staff attorney told him that they “would subpoena my a__” if the Health Commissioner did not allow me to testify. Not romantic at all! After my testimony, I didn’t reconnect with John until the late 1980’s. Then I was asking him to advertise in my senior housing guide. John was North Memorial Hospital’s VP of Marketing and Planning. We became friends and had lunch from time to time. Then I moved to Detroit in early 1999 to help a friend with fundraising. When I returned in May 2000, I started networking in order to find a job. John was on my list. We had coffee in mid-June – I asked him if I could see the vineyard he was always talking about. Three weeks later, I visited his farm with my friend Deborah, a psychic. As we were driving to the farm, she told me that John and I would have a wonderful life together and that we were meant to be together. As Deborah and I were leaving, John pulled me aside and asked if I would have dinner with him the following night but to leave my friend at home. We did have dinner the next evening and that was the beginning of our 23-year love affair. We married on August 17, 2002 and renewed our vows on August 18, 2012. What a wonderful life we shared! We enjoyed being together in whatever we were doing. We loved entertaining, traveling, politics, wine and good food, music, art and much more. John even enjoyed our menagerie of pets (cats, chickens, dogs, geese, goats and rabbits). We had a strong foundation because we were friends first, and shared friends and many interests. John loved that I was a Latina and had Spanish blood – he thoroughly embraced the Latino/Hispanic cultures. We also supported each other during difficult times, mostly health-related. John always said, “You are the best decision I have ever made!” He is the best decision I ever made. True love knows no bounds. We are together forever. EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL LIFE: John was a graduate of St. Paul Academy (Cum Laude), Princeton University (Magna Cum Laude) and Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration. He worked for Mobile Oil, Peck Paper Company, Control Data and North Memorial Medical Center. Throughout his careers, he wrote many articles, and gave numerous presentations and speeches to local, state and national groups. POLITICAL CAREER: John was elected Ramsey County Commissioner in 1970; and elected State Senator for the White Bear area in 1972 and 1976. John was an excellent legislator – he fought for those most vulnerable in our community: the elderly (especially frail elderly), the physically/mentally disabled, the poor and women. As a Ramsey County Commissioner, he helped pass a resolution to hire people regardless of race, creed, color, national origin and/or gender. This was revolutionary in the early 1970’s. In the Minnesota State Senate, John authored numerous pieces of legislation including providing funding for community facilities for the physically/mentally disabled, protections for mobile home owners, and protecting frail elderly in nursing homes. WRITING: John’s true calling was writing. His fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Loomis, told him that he was a writer and that stuck with him the rest of his life. John spent a day with Ernest Hemingway in April 1955. Hemingway told John and his three classmates that they “should write every day, regardless of how late they were out, how much they drank and whose bed they left.” John published the award-wining The Fallen Nightingale (about Enrique Granados), For the Good of the Order (a bio of the late State Senator and Majority Leader Nicholas Coleman), Time to Choose (about women’s reproductive rights), and wrote the afterword for State Senator Allan Spear’s memoir, Crossing the Barriers. John wrote articles for Corporate Report, La Prensa of Minnesota, Princeton Alumni Weekly, Ramsey County Historical Society, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Ventures magazine, and the White Bear Press. NONPROFIT BOARDS: For more than six decades, John was very active in our community and served on many nonprofit boards including: · Advisory Board, Bi-National Health Programs, University of California-San Diego · Commission on Minnesota’s Future and Commission on the Economic Status of Women · Ebenezer Society Board of Directors · Founding President, Ramsey Health Plan · KTCA public television, Director · Medical Alley, Government Affairs Council · Minnesota Gerontological Society · Minnesota Hospital Association, Government Affairs Committee · Minnesota Legislative Association, former secretary · National Advisory Council, VA Medical Programs · National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Minnesota · National Task Force on Medical Education, American Association of Medical Colleges · Penumbra Theatre board member · Ramsey County Historical Society Editorial Board member · Ramsey County Open Space Commission · St. Paul Council on the Arts and Sciences · St. Paul Ramsey Board of Trustees · St. Paul Urban Coalition, former president · White House Conference on Aging participant HIS PASSING: John passed peacefully at home with me. He was preceded in death by his parents John and Mary Milton; and his first wife Judy Peck Milton. He is also survived by brother Tom Milton (Marie), sister Mary Denzer, children Melissa Milton (Kate Kemble), Laura Robertson (Michael LeBlanc), Peter Milton (Dawn), Jason Milton (Tracy) and John Milton III (Stacey). Stepchildren: Jeff Kunshier (Jamie Radford) and Steven Kunshier (Miaken), 9 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren, and many other family and friends. MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP FUND: To recognize John’s strong commitment to public higher education, memorials may be made to a scholarship fund established in his memory at Metro State University – www.metrostate.edu.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Milton, please visit Tribute Store
Celebration of Life
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Monday, August 21, 2023
4746 Washington Square
White Bear Lake, Minnesota, United States
Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event
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In Loving Memory
1935 - 2023
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Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in this book.