November 17, 2012
Bill and Helen Milliken, photo from AP archives
My beliefs are not particularly unique. It’s just that I’m now in a position to do something about them.
Yesterday Helen Wallbank Milliken passed away at the age of 89 in Traverse City. Helen was the wife of Michigan’s longest serving Governor William Milliken. Her entry in the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame says in part:
Helen Milliken, wife of the former Governor of Michigan, has long been identified with women’s issues and concerns. She was a distinguished national co-chair of ERAmerica and traveled throughout the country speaking on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment. She also freely gave her time and energy to raising needed funds to support this major cause. In addition, she was a convener of the International Women’s Year Delegation in Michigan and a member of the delegation to the IWY Conference, which met in Houston in 1977. She is associated with The Women’s Research in Education Institute in Washington, D.C., and chaired the National Women’s Conference Committee.
Helen Milliken has been a major patron of the arts in Michigan. She was in no small measure responsible for the development of a state public arts project and for the growth in public support of the arts.
…Independent, committed, and principled, Helen Milliken never sought, but never shrank from controversy. When her commitment to equality conflicted with her political loyalties, she clearly chose the former. Her choice, her service, and her spirit have enriched the lives of countless Michigan citizens.
The Detroit Free Press has an excellent article that includes a photo gallery of Helen Milliken. along with reminisces by those who worked with her in public life. One of these, former press secretary & chief of staff to Gov. Milliken George Weeks, looks at the many causes Helen championed.
The Michigan Land Use Institute has a page where some of the people who remember their longtime board member and supporter Helen Milliken – click to view it.