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Donald George Milne



Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Washington, Vt. — Donald George Milne, 81, of Washington, Vt. died peacefully on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016. Don had been diagnosed with advanced metastatic cancer three weeks ago.

The son of Henry and Catharine (Fraher) Milne, Don was born the second of four children in Barre, Vt. on July 16, 1934. Don met Marion Carson on July 3, 1954, in Lake George, N.Y. They had their first date the next day and were married on March 15, 1957. Marion was the one romantic love of his life. They were partners in marriage, parenting, grand-parenting, business, public service, politics, and all that they loved about life and each other. Marion predeceased him in August of 2014.

Don is survived by three of his children: Scott Milne of Pomfret, Vt., Chris Milne and his wife, Marjorie of Dover, Mass., and Cathy Frey and her husband, Scott Frey, of Barre, Vt.; and daughter-in-law, Deborah Milne of White River Junction, Vt. A son, Keith Milne predeceased him in 1971. He had eight grandchildren: Keith Milne, Elise Milne, Nicole Frey, Jane Milne, Alex Frey, Lee Milne, Claire Milne, and George Milne.

He leaves a sister and brother-in-law, Mary Jean and Gus Mastro; brother, John Milne; and sisters-in-law, Kay Milne, Agnes Eller, Jean DeFrees and Irene Hinek. He is predeceased by his brother, Ted Milne and in-laws, Harry and Anne Carson, Francis and Julia West, Frank and Pauline Seiferheld, Bill Eller, Gene De Frees, Robert Hinek, and Marion’s siblings who died as children; William, Charles, Billy, John, and Marion Carson. Don also leaves many nieces and nephews, and his yellow lab, Vince.

Don was born and raised in Barre. As a child he spent a lot of time working in the gardens with his great-grandfather, George Riddle of Monymusk, Scotland, at the home of his grandmother—Jennie Milne—in North Barre. He paid his way through Boston University with summer jobs in Lake Morey and Lake George, and drove a cab and managed a parking lot during the school year. While attending New York Law School he was a full-time employee of Royal Globe Insurance.

Don began working in the Vermont House of Representative’s Clerk’s Office with Clerk Dale Brooks and assistant Clerk Bob Picher in 1960. He was elected Clerk of the House of Representatives in 1993, and was unanimously re-elected every legislative session until his retirement in October of last year. Don Milne worked with thousands of Vermont Legislators in his roles in the House and Senate over the past 55 years. These were experiences and relationships he cherished. According to Vermont Historian Paul Gillies, it is likely that Don worked with more citizen legislators as a legislative Clerk than any person in Vermont’s History. Don loved Vermont and he cherished our Legislature. He appreciated the good fortune he had to be a part of it for so long.

Earlier in his career Don owned his own Law office in Barre and expanded with a second office in Chelsea. Later, he worked for many years in the Law firm of Richard E. Davis in Barre. He respected Richard Davis and the opportunity association with his firm afforded Don and his family.

In 1975, he co-founded Milne Travel, and worked behind the scenes as a book-keeper, officer, and advisor until his death.

Don served his home town of Washington in many capacities over the years, and was the longest serving Selectboard member in the history of the town at the time of his death. March of 2016 will be the first Washington Town Meeting without Don on the ballot in several decades. He and Marion were recognized by their town as “Citizens of the Year” in 2010.

Don Milne was a tireless public servant and citizen. He was co-founder of the Barre Elks Senior Citizen dinners—which have served over 50,000 meals, he is a former president of the board of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, former board member and president of Green Mountain Economic Development Council Board, former president of Vermont Young Republicans, former Barre City Grand Juror, and former Vermont Legislator—serving in a two-member district with future House Speaker, Walter “Peanut” Kennedy.

Don was a confident, humble, hard-working, and non-judgmental person. He led not with words, but by a great example of the possibilities of a life well lived.

Funeral arrangements will be handled by Hookers Funeral Home in Barre, with a wake on Friday, Jan. 29 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m, and funeral on Saturday at 11 a.m. the First Presbyterian Church in Barre.

A donation of time or money to the charity of your choice or to the Keith Milne Fund at Calef Memorial Library, Washington, VT 05675 are welcome in Don’s honor.