Carol J. Milligan, 91, passed away peacefully on January 12, 2021 in Falls Church, Virginia, where she lived for the past three years at The Kensington assisted living residence.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 42 years, John T. (Jack) Milligan and daughter Janet (Janny) Milligan, as well as her sister Janet Teachout. Survivors include her daughter, Marcy Milligan Rehberger (Wayne), her sister Kathy Klaer (Tom), four cherished grandchildren, Chris (Michelle), Katie (Joe Wells), John, and Andy Rehberger, and five great-grandchildren, Jack, Cooper and Mills Rehberger and Samantha and Jane Anderson Wells. She also is survived by her devoted companion for the last 15 years, Carl Koteff.
Carol was born in South Bend, Indiana to Greta and Walter (Andy) Anderson. At Riley High School, she formed life-long friendships with her Delphi sorority sisters. She received a bachelor’s degree in education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where she met her future husband, dance partner and fellow ukulele player Jack Milligan. They married in Key West, Florida, and after Jack’s service in the U.S. Navy and law school, the couple settled in Warren, Ohio in 1956.
In a generation when many women didn’t go to college, let alone graduate school, Carol was the first in her family to do both. She completed her Master’s degree at Westminster College, and spent her career teaching English, social studies and journalism. Her students from the 1960s fondly recall creating films in her home, such as “The Great Spaghetti Race,” and staging laundry commercials featuring students popping out of her washing machine.
In addition to teaching, supporting those less fortunate was Carol’s passion. She was a devoted volunteer, teaching in summer camps for underserved children, mentoring teens needing support, and serving in leadership at her church. She fervently believed in social justice, marching for civil rights and to end the Vietnam War, and in her later years in the Million Mom March.
Family and friends remember Carol’s perpetually sunny personality, bright smile and fun-loving spirit as her hallmarks. She taught her daughters and their friends yoga, practicing headstands against the living room wall, tap danced while doing the dishes with her sisters, and completed household chores blaring college fight songs. Her love of life and passion for fun grew exponentially with the arrival of her grandchildren. From making mud pies in the backyard, to hosting weekends at the beach, to cheering at every concert and sporting event, to looking the other way when as teenagers they hosted parties while their parents were away, Carol delighted in her grandchildren.
Carol’s love for reading and writing inspired her second act after retirement. She self-published several books, including a memoir of the writings of her daughter Janny, who passed away from cancer at age 24. At their home in Lake Chautauqua, New York, Carol took writing classes and relished lectures and symphony performances. She and Jack loved hosting family and friends at Chautauqua and in Amelia Island, Florida, for boating, snow skiing, golf and beach walking vacations.
After she lost her dear Jack, Carol moved to Vienna, Virginia, to be closer to her family. She embraced her new life there, taking writing classes, volunteering, and cherishing her grandchildren. She later met Carl Koteff, her treasured companion of the past 15 years, with whom she enjoyed plays, symphonies and trips to Alaska, as well as cross-country meetups with her Delphi sorority sisters.
A celebration of life ceremony will take place at a future date. Burial will be at Oakwood Cemetery in Warren, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages friends to perform a random act of kindness for someone less fortunate in Carol’s honor.