Donna M. (Grisdale) Milliman died Friday, July 5, 2013, after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease.
She was born Jan. 26, 1929 to Arthur and Gertrude (Davis) Grisdale in Mt. Pleasant, the seventh of 11 children. After graduating from Sacred Heart Academy, Donna earned her teaching degree from Central Michigan University in 1948. She taught elementary grades and coached the girls’ high school basketball team in Beaverton for several years before a brief move to Minnesota. Upon her return to Michigan she began work in the business office at the Lansing State Journal. There she met Richard Milliman, then a Journal reporter. They were married at St. Mary’s Cathedral on April 7, 1956. While raising their three children, Donna continued her career as an active participant in the family’s newspaper business, Milliman Newspaper Group. In addition to being a trusted confidant and advisor, she served as corporate secretary, as office manager and as landlord at various newspaper locations throughout the state for many years.
Donna’s strong Catholic faith was present every day in her life. She was a charter member of St. Gerard parish and was a founding member of the original Queen of Peace Circle. Donna was an avid sports fan. She enjoyed attending the state high school basketball finals. She was devoted to the Detroit Tigers and also held Michigan State football and basketball season tickets for more than 25 years. She never missed a child’s or grandchild’s athletic event, concert, performance or award ceremony. She enjoyed entertaining her family, whether at the family pool, the Florida condo or for two weeks in the summer at one of the many Michigan cottages she rented to spend more quality time with her kids and grandkids. Many special memories were also made at the annual “New Year’s Eve Party at Grandma’s.”
Donna was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, James, Joseph, Thomas and Gerald Grisdale; sisters, Kathleen Cochran, Margaret Wood, Jane Williams, Patricia Grisdale and Mary Grisdale. Her sister, Betty (Nyle) Haggart of Clare, survives. She is also survived by Dick, her devoted husband of 57 years, and children, Teresa (David) Brandell of Lansing, Dirk (Penny) Milliman of Haslett and Ann Marie (Mike) Epstein of Lansing. Also surviving are the nine grandchildren she adored, Stephanie (Mark) Arduini of Seattle, Wash.; Joshua Fitzwater of Minneapolis, Minn.; Leslie (Matt) LeBlanc of Grayling; Joseph Fitzwater of Peoria, Ill.; Callie and Logan Milliman of Haslett; Danielle, Allison and Adam Epstein of Lansing and great-grandson Jameson Milliman.
The family would like to thank Ingham Regional Assisted Living staff and McLaren Hospice services for their care.
Visitation will be at Tiffany Funeral Home on Monday, July 8 from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. with Rosary at 7 p.m. Funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 9 at St. Gerard church with additional visitation starting at 9:30 a.m. Interment will be at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery.
In memory of Donna contributions can be made to the Michigan Press Association Foundation’s Richard and Donna Milliman Scholarship Fund or to the Fr. Weber Endowment Fund at St. Gerard.