Mary Jean Milner-Estes, 64, formerly of Sandusky, died Saturday morning, March 31, 2007, at her winter home in Casselberry, Fla., after a lengthy illness.
Born in Flint, Mich., Mary later moved to Short Hills, N.J., with her family where she graduated from high school. She received her bachelor of science degree in nursing from the College of Nursing at Michigan State University in 1964 and her master of Science degree in nursing administration from Wayne State University.
Mary's professional nursing career began at the Pontiac Michigan State Hospital as a head nurse. She stayed there for three years. However, most of her professional life was spent in the Department of Veterans Administration, with her last assignment being director of nurses at the VA hospital in Battle Creek, Mich. She retired from the VA in 1994 to live and care for her mother, Lina Milner (deceased), in Sandusky. Her father, Warren E. Milner (deceased), was the general manager of the New Departure-Hyatt Bearing Division of General Motors for many years.
In 2001, Mary married David Estes, a friend from childhood. The couple maintained an active role in Sandusky before moving to Birmingham, Ohio, in the summer of 2006. They previously had established their winter residence in Casselberry. In Sandusky, Mary was an active communicant of Resurrection Lutheran Church. She served as treasurer of this church for many years.
After her graduation from Michigan State University, Mary continued to maintain strong ties with the university and especially the College of Nursing. She was a lifetime member of the MSU Alumni Association and was a board member and treasurer of the College of Nursing Alumni Association from 1993 to 2006. She was honored as the Outstanding Alumna of the College of Nursing in 1993. She recently showed her support for a building campaign of the College of Nursing by granting a major gift to the university. In gratitude for this gift, the College of Nursing will establish the Mary J. Milner-Estes Visiting Faculty office in the new addition. She also finalized a bequest that will establish the Mary J. Milner-Estes Endowment Scholarship in the college. This scholarship will be eligible to students enrolled in the College of Nursing, who are in good academic standing and who have third year status as an undergraduate student or entering or matriculating through a graduate or accelerated nursing program.
The Dean of the College, Dr. Mary Mundt, made these comments upon learning of the death of Mary, "We are extremely proud to have had Mary as an alumna of MSU College of Nursing. She was a warm and generous individual who has fostered many meaningful relationships among students, faculty and alumni, and her efforts on behalf of the college and the profession of nursing were tireless."
Dr. Marilyn Rothert, a former Dean of the College and a close friend of Mary's, said, "Mary has been a valued colleague and friend, and I have appreciated her wisdom and counsel over the years. She has been an exemplary leader and role model in nursing. Her love of life was very evident, and I will miss her very much."
Mary is survived by her husband, David Estes; a brother-in-law, Roscoe E. Krauss of Geneva, N.Y.; stepchildren, Rebecca Wilburn of Valparaiso, Ind., and Philip NR Estes of Dexter, Mich.; stepgrandchildren, Nathaniel Estes, Rachel Wilburn, Madeline Estes, and Jackson Wilburn; nieces, Heidi Stobie and Amy Greer, both of New York State; and nephew, Todd Milner of Orlando, Fla.; grandnieces, Jacqueline, Candice and Maryssa Greer of New York.
She was predeceased, in addition to her mother and father, by her brother, Ronald J. Milner of Pontiac; sister, Nancy M. Krauss of Geneva; and nephew, Andrew Milner of Orlando.
Friends will be received from 9-11 a.m. and 1-4 and 6-8 p.m. Wednesday in Groff Funeral Home, 1607 E. Perkins Ave., Sandusky. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Resurrection Lutheran Church, Michigan and Pennsylvania avenues, Sandusky, with Pastor Andrea Starn officiating. Michigan relatives and friends will be received from 9 a.m. Saturday until funeral services at 11 a.m. at Wakeman Funeral Home in Saginaw, Mich. Mary's cousin, the Rev. Craig Bickel, will officiate. Burial will follow at Holy Cross Lutheran Cemetery in Saginaw.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that consideration be given to making a donation to the Michigan State University College of Nursing, A117 Life Sciences Building, East Lansing, MI 48824-1317; or to a charity of one's choice.