Former Michigan Governor William Milliken Dies at 97 Years Old

Former Governor William Milliken passed away at the age of 97 Friday.

He was the longest serving governor in Michigan, spending 14 years in office.

A spokesperson for the Milliken family says he passed away at his Traverse City home.

Aside from serving as governor, Milliken was involved in dozens of different organizations and played many different roles in the Traverse City community.

“It’s a loss to the state. It’s a loss to history. It’s a loss to the community,” said Michael Gillman, who served under Milliken.

State senator, lieutenant governor and governor of the state of Michigan are just a few of the many titles that once belonged to William Milliken.

“He was a business leader. A true hero in World War II,” said Jason Allen, a former state senator from Traverse City area.

Milliken was born into a family of leaders in Traverse City.

His father was a state senator.

His mother was the first woman in Traverse City elected into public office, serving on the school board.

After enlisting in the Army Reserve Corps and graduating from Yale, his political career began.

Milliken took office as a republican state senator in 1960.

Four years later, he became lieutenant governor.

Eventually spent 14 years as Michigan’s governor.

“His legacy, his time in office was remarkable,” said Allen.

Most notably, Milliken was known for his work to protect the environment signing the Michigan Bottle Deposit bill into law and adopting the Wetlands Protection Act.

“It would be impossible for me to say how much I respected him,” said Gillman.

Milliken also served as the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce President.
Those who worked with him say it was an honor to have known him.

“He was a great human being in terms of working with him,” said Gillman. “I think we were loyal to him and he was always loyal to us.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer expressed her condolences saying “Governor Milliken was a true statesman who led our state with integrity and honor. He had a unique ability to bring people from both sides of the aisle together for the betterment of Michigan.”

The Michigan Republican Party also sent their sympathies saying “his time as governor will be remembered for the kindness and civility he brought to his office.”