Dr. David Allen Milburn, 71, of Buckhannon, passed away in Country Meadows Rehabilitation Center at Bridgeville, Pa., at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, May 4, 2013, after a long illness due to surgical complications.
Born Nov. 28, 1941, David was the son of former councilman and mayor of Jeannette, Pa., the late Ellsworth R. Milburn and his wife, Estella Kratovil Milburn; and son-in-law of the late Dr. Robert DePue, Esquire, and Mary Davies DePue of Spencer.
David was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Dr. Ellsworth Milburn, Professor Emeritus of Rice University; and his son-in-law Rick Crites, formerly of Buckhannon.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, DeeAnna DePue Milburn; and two daughters, Dana Milburn and husband, David Brauer, of Arlington, Va., and Debby Milburn of Bridgeville, Pa.; and four grandchildren, Lauren Milburn Crites and Eric Allen Milburn of Bridgeville, Pa., and Benjamin Milburn Brauer and Evan Milburn Brauer of Arlington, Va. Also stepgrandson, Rick Crites, Jr. (Katrina Morris Crites) of Buckhannon; brothers-in-law, Daniel DePue and Robert DePue (Freda) of Spencer; niece, Lauren Milburn Remkes (Charles) and children, Leah and Ethan, of Albuquerque, N.M.; nephew, Brendan Milburn (Valerie Vigoda) and son, Mose, of Los Angeles, Calif.; niece, Denise DePue Atkinson (Chris) and children, Sarina and Savana, of Cross Lanes; niece, Jondalyn DePue Martin (Wayne) and daughter, Kimber, of Weyers Cave, Va.; and nephew, Michael DePue (Mystie) and daughter, Holly, of Spencer. David is also survived by a host of friends, colleagues and beloved former students.
His wealth of talent, kindness, wisdom, intelligence and humor made him a truly exceptional teacher, mentor and human being, described by many who loved him as "larger than life." David graduated from Jeannette High School in Jeannette, Pa., in 1959 and earned a Bachelor of Music in trombone from West Virginia University. During his senior year, he and three friends, Mike Roberts, George Miller and Larry O'Grady, took over some of the teaching and directing duties after their professor suddenly resigned his position. David was also elected president of Omicron Delta Kappa Music Honorary. He received a Master of Music Theory from WVU in 1964 and served for a time as a music educator in the Monongahela County schools. "Slide," as he was affectionately known by his earlier students, began his professorship at West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1966, teaching various music courses, giving private music instruction and directing the bands for 38 years. More than that, he was a positive role model, mentor and second father to hundreds of WVWC students. In 1982, David earned his Doctorate in instrumental conducting from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where he instructed and conducted several ensembles. "Doc," as he was known by later generations of students, became Music Department Chair in 1984 until his retirement in 2004. Each spring break found the Wesleyan Jazz Ensemble touring on a bus, playing for secondary students and sightseeing around the Eastern part of the U.S. During his tenure at Wesleyan, David also took the Jazz Ensemble numerous times to Europe as Goodwill Ambassadors, playing American jazz in some of the finest concert halls in Poland, Romania, Estonia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Latvia, Finland, and the Soviet Union/Russia. In 1979 and 1984, the Wesleyan Jazz Ensemble was invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and at the International United Methodist Conference in 2004. Dr. Milburn was also selected as a reaccreditation evaluator for the National Association of Schools of Music, visiting and evaluating music programs at colleges and universities across the country. In addition, he was asked to serve as guest conductor and performance adjudicator for many music festivals throughout West Virginia and the nation during the course of his career. Former students of Dr. Milburn can be found throughout the United States and around the world. Not only are there countless music educators and professors among them, but also lawyers, doctors, dentists, teachers, business professionals and professional musicians in the entertainment field and military bands, such as "The Presidents' Own." An avid fisherman, David loved his handmade 30-foot boat aptly named "Satin Doll." He also loved his dogs, beer, reading historical novels, relating humorous stories and his silver Z-350 convertible. But the lights of his life were his grandchildren, whom he loved, adored and treasured, and who lost him too soon. David was a member of the West Virginia Bandmasters Association, Phi Mu Alpha Music Fraternity, Phi Beta Mu (the International School Bandmasters' Fraternity), the J.I.P., I.A.J.E. (International Association of Jazz Educators), the Elks Lodge and the Moose Lodge.
Friends may visit at Wesley Chapel located on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon today from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m., and again Saturday at noon. The service will immediately follow at 1 p.m. A reception luncheon will be served at the First United Methodist Church, 52 S. Florida St. in Buckhannon.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the "Dr. David Milburn Music Scholarship Fund" at West Virginia Wesleyan College, 59 College Ave., Buckhannon, WV 26201, so that in death as well as in life, his exceptional legacy of educating and helping young musicians to reach their full potential as musicians and as human beings can continue. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.polingstclair.com. Poling-St. Clair Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.