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Donald H. Millikan

March 28, 1932 ~ April 16, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old
Obituary Image


It is with great sadness that we announce that Don Millikan passed away on April 16th, 2023 in Glen Ellen (CA) from a sudden cardiac arrest. 

Don Millikan was a native Californian, born in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale to Gertrude Pentland Millikan and Charles English Millikan. Don had three older siblings, Shirley, Brad and Julia.

From an early age, Don displayed a talent for figuring out what makes things tick, and how to build and fix them. One of his first jobs was as a mechanic in an auto shop in Glendale, where he both fixed cars and built malt machines for the first hamburger joints of Bob Wian, founder of Bob’s Big Boy. Don also learned carpentry early on, especially after Shirley’s husband, Dick DeGrey, invited him to help build a cabin in Idyllwild, in the San Bernardino mountains. 

When Don was only 17, he suffered a tragic loss when his father Charles Millikan, a prominent LA lawyer, died of a heart attack.

Don graduated from Glendale High School, where he met his sweetheart and future wife, Flavia Ann Craft. Don and Flavia were married on August 23,1952.  Soon afterwards, the young couple embarked on a major adventure - crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Mary for a year of study and travel in Europe, supported by a scholarship from the Rotary Club.

Don and Flavia had three children, Robert, Brent, and Ann.

Don studied theology at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, where he graduated in 1955. He subsequently worked as a minister in the United Methodist church near San Francisco (Vallejo) and Los Angeles (Claremont) before moving to San Diego. There, he was a founding member of the North Clairmont Methodist Church, where he served as minister between 1960 and 1967.

Don’s interest in the field of psychology led him to pursue a master’s degree and later a PhD from San Diego State University. In 1967, he made a major career change when he landed a job teaching Psychology at Mesa Community College.

At Mesa College, Don maintained a keen interest in exploring connections between psychology and the comparative study of world religions. In San Diego, he became an active member of the Zen Center in Del Mar. 

Another important aspect of Don’s professional life is that he worked for many years -  initially as a volunteer -  with the San Diego County court system, serving as a mediator for extra-judicial solutions for child custody cases.

After retiring from Mesa College in 2002, Don built a small cabin in Camp Connell in the Sierra Nevada mountains, near the Stanislaus river. While living in the mountains, Don developed a talent as a nature photographer, capturing scenes ranging from the majestic peaks of Mt. Mokelumne and the Dardanelles to close-ups of dogwood trees in the changing seasons. See a collection of Don’s photos from the Sierras here:

Don was also a regular participant of the Quaker meeting based in Stockton.  With Flavia living in Glen Ellen in Sonoma County, he maintained a strong connection between the Sierras and the Bay Area.     

Don was known for his curious intellect, a kind and considerate disposition, a penchant for striking up conversations with strangers, rock-solid ethics and his devotion to family. 

Don is survived by his wife Flavia, son, Brent, daughter, Ann; granddaughter, Gabriela and grandson Pedro. Other living relatives include nephews and nieces Greg and Laurie (Millikan) (Bill) Lawson, Cathy (Gary) Millikan, Richard (Lien) and Stephen (Dawn) DeGrey, Bruce (Julie), Patrick (Heather) and Erin Thomas, and many grand nephews and nieces. Preceded in death by parents Charles E. and Gertrude P. Millikan; son, Robert Millikan; brother Brad (Barbara) Millikan; sisters Shirley (Dick) DeGrey and Julia (Hal) Thomas; nephews and nieces Linda Millikan, Gary Millikan and Christie Thomas.

A memorial service for Donald H. Millikan will be held on Saturday, June 24, 2023, 10:30am at Saint Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 9000 Highway 12, Kenwood, CA. The service will be presided by the Very Reverend Edward Howell, Priest-in-Charge.

Please feel free to share comments and remembrances on the Tribute Wall below. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests planting a tree in Don’s honor. For more information, see:









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Memorial Service
June 24, 2023

10:30 AM
St. Patrick's Episcopal Church
9000 Sonoma Highway
Kenwood, CA 95452


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