Obituary — John Hollister Milne

SHELBURNE – John Hollister Milne, MD, age 87, died Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at the UVM Medical Center in Burlington following complications from pneumonia. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family.

John was born on June 20, 1930, the son of Rachel Hollister Milne and George Edmund Milne of Barre, Vt. He attended school in Barre, graduating from Spaulding High School in 1948. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1952 and a Doctor of Medicine from Harvard Medical School in 1956.

John completed his internship at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia in 1957. A residency in internal medicine followed at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, N.Y. He served in the Public Health Service from 1958 to 1960, helping to develop rheumatic fever and stroke prevention and rehab programs. He returned to his home state in 1960 to complete his residency at Mary Fletcher Hospital in Burlington.

Following residency, John settled in the Burlington area and began what was then the traditional model, solo private practice in internal medicine. In 1970, along with Drs. Peter Alden, Charles Gluck and Thomas Martenis, he co-founded Aesculapius Medical Center. Aesculapius was one of the first free-standing medical centers in the region. It quickly evolved into a busy multi-specialty practice, capable of providing patients with a range of medical services under one roof.

John enjoyed taking the time to get to know his patients, recognizing the importance of a caring and mutually trusting doctor-patient relationship. This, combined with the intellectual challenge of applying his medical knowledge to his patients’ unique needs, kept him engaged and satisfied in his career. Patients and colleagues came to know John as a gentle, kind and intellectually gifted physician.

Upon retirement, John discovered a number of previously neglected talents. He bravely took up the bassoon and was soon playing in community orchestras and chamber groups. He resurrected an old love for writing, and authored thoughtful essays and articles for the Wake Robin retirement community’s newspaper. He acted on his environmental conscience by heading up the community’s composting committee. He also loved to cook and became an expert at gluten-free cuisine, whipping up many warm, wheat-free meals for family and friends.

Above all, John loved his family. He met Robin, a Radcliffe grad from the relatively cosmopolitan state of New Jersey, on a blind date in medical school.  He later wrote, “I very soon knew that she was the person with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life. Luckily she accepted my entreaties.” They were married in 1955. She was his best friend and love and they shared their lives for the next 62 years.

John and Robin brought forth three sons and a daughter, David Williams, Steven Hollister, Thomas Joseph and Mavis Elizabeth. While his career kept him busy, he took time out for nightly family dinners, weekend sailing on Lake Champlain, camping vacations and skiing on the local slopes. He devoted much of his time during retirement to deepening his relationships with his children and six grandchildren. He is fondly remembered for the many Christmases and long weekends he and Robin hosted at their Shelburne home, summer vacations on Lake Champlain and long conversations over a good gluten free meal. He was a warm, wise, funny, sweet and supportive husband, father and grandfather who was deeply loved.

John is survived by his loving wife Robin; two sons, David of San Francisco; and Steven and his wife Drew Wanderman of Palo Alto, Calif.; daughter Mavis and her partner, Jamey Gerlaugh of Charlotte; brother George D. Milne and his wife Linda, of Montpelier; sister Margaret Richey and her husband Alban, of Barre; six grandchildren: Skye Wanderman-Milne, Reed Wanderman-Milne, Cayla Wanderman-Milne, Molly Milne-Gerlaugh, Amelia Elizabeth Milne and Phillipa Robin Milne; nephews David Richey, John Richey, Jamie Milne and George H. Milne.

A Memorial Service will be held at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington June 2, 2018 at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John’s name to Community Health Centers of Burlington, 617 Riverside Ave, Burlington VT 05401.

Condolences may be sent to the Milne Family at 100 Wake Robin Drive, Shelburne, VT 05482.

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