Memorial Service for Don Millage, February 25, 2012 2 p.m. at Newberg Friends Church.
Don Millage was born in Phoenix, Arizona, on December 30, 1931, to Roy and Grace Millage. He was the third of four children (Lily, Doris, and baby Laura) and the only boy. In Dealous Cox, his first cousin, he found a brother. Dea was raised with Don and his sisters for several years, as Grace cared for Dea’s mother, Maggie, who had been badly burned.
Don and his family moved to Talent, Oregon, where he met Virginia Peters. Later in life, he would say, “I saw her for the first time when I was 16 and never looked at another woman.” Virginia was active with the Friends church youth group, along with Dea Cox, so Don became a Baptist by day and a Quaker by night.
In high school, Don was a four-letter man. He set the small school state record in the long jump at 20ft 3 5/8in, a record that stands today. He quarterbacked the foot- ball team to a place in the state championship, played second base on the baseball team, was a dash and long-jump man in track, and came off the bench to play guard in basketball.
After graduation from Talent High, Don attended Southern Oregon State Col- lege for two years, leaving school to serve his country in the Korean conflict. Upon returning home, he worked for his father, building homes from top to bottom. He learned building skills and put them to good use throughout his life. He continued to work in Talent while Virginia finished her degree in education at George Fox, driving (too fast) up to Newberg on weekends whenever possible.
Don and Virginia were married in June 1954. They moved to Springfield, Or- egon, where Virginia taught first grade and Don finished his accounting degree at the University of Oregon. He had considered engineering as his field of study, but decided to go with accounting because he could finish quicker. And he discovered his remarkable aptitude for numbers.
After graduation Don took the CPA exam, confiding to his wife that he was sure he had failed. In fact, he passed the exam in the top eight in the entire country. He immediately went on to work for Price Waterhouse at the Portland office. While in Portland, his three children, Martin, Dawn, and Gayle were born. Using the skills he had learned from his father, Don built a house for his family in Tigard, Oregon, with only a little help from his friends and family. However, Price Waterhouse transferred him to the San Francisco office in 1962, only six months later. On last check, that little house still stands.
Don and his family lived in California for three years before being transferred to the New York office as one of the youngest, if not the youngest, national director of professional development, and moving to New Jersey. He was climbing the corpo- rate ladder handily (and hating the long commute into Manhattan), when a few years later, he got a late-night call from Dave LeShana, then president of George Fox Col- lege. Dave offered Don a job as business manager of the small Quaker college that Virginia had attended. Don always said he went to George Fox for the salary, demonstrating his characteristic dry humor, as he took a 2/3 cut in pay to move back to Oregon. Upon arrival at his new job, he discovered a box containing $50,000 (1972 money) of unpaid bills, and spent the next six months dealing with angry creditors.
Don became a legend at George Fox for his money-saving initiatives, not all of them comfortable for the staff, such as lowering the temperature in the buildings to 68 degrees. But he balanced the budget the very first year. He instituted (some might say demanded) a balanced budget, and, as the Abominable “No” Man, continued to balance the budget yearly during his tenure at the college. He served at George Fox College for the next 30 years, seeing the college grow from a total annual budget of 1.5 million dollars to a million dollar monthly payroll. He guided the institution through the change from being a college to the university it is today shortly before his retirement at 72.
Don and Virginia were both very active in the Newberg community, the college, and Newberg Friends Church.
In 2011 Don was inducted into the Talent High School Athletic Hall of Fame for his many contributions to the athletic program. He was also in the George Fox Uni- versity Sports Hall of Fame for his many decades of scorekeeping for the men’s bas- ketball team. It is thought that Don has attended more George Fox Bruins basketball games than anyone in history, although, no one really kept track. But if you attended any Bruins basketball game, you were sure to see Don in his seat at the scoring table, following every move with his innate impeccable precision. In 2008, he was named GFU Volunteer of the Year for the service and support he gave to the university over the course of many years.
The second love of his life was his family, and Don was lucky to have most of his family nearby. His son, Martin, and daughter-in-law, Katherine, moved to Newberg in Don’s later years, blessing him with a grandson and granddaughter. His daughter Dawn and son-in-law Ken and their two girls, Laura and Melanie, along with the younger Millage family would gather every Sunday for brunch after church, giving all the grandchildren and, later, great-grandchildren the wonderful opportunity of growing up together and enjoying time with their grandpa.
Don passed away on February 17, 2012, at St. Vincent’s Hospital, surrounded by his children. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Virginia, in 1992. He is survived by his children: Martin and Katherine Millage of Newberg, Dawn and Ken Beveridge of Beaverton, and Gayle Millage and Ed Meyer of Charleston, South Carolina; his five grandchildren: Heather, Thomas, and Anna Virginia Millage; Laura Beveridge Yarnell (married to Mike); and Melanie Beveridge; two great-grandchil- dren, Aliya and Darius Yarnell. His three sisters, Lily (Wes) Hartley, Doris McCulley, and Laura (Clarence) Baker also survive him, along with many nieces and nephews. He is and will continue to be greatly missed.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Don and Virginia Millage Memorial Scholar- ship Fund at George Fox University, Newberg, OR.