Don Kent Milner Sr. passed away on Wednesday, the 13th of May 2015, in Pearland, Texas. He was the devoted husband of Cindy Marie Rickerson, the adoring father of Don Kent Milner Jr. and Natalie Anne Milner, and the proud grandfather of Olivia, Catherine, Emily, and Madeline Milner.
Don loved life! He loved spending time with his family. He loved fishing, hunting, horseback riding, and anything having to do with the University of Houston. Don was an incredibly generous man and helping others was what made him happy. He was charitable and he was also the best paying “tooth fairy” around.
Don was born in Houston on the 24th of July 1949, to William and Reba Milner. He was the oldest child and big brother to Randy Neal Milner and William Barry Milner. Don grew up in South East Houston and played little league baseball at Freeway National Little League. He attended Garden Villas Elementary and then Hartman Junior High. He graduated from Jesse H. Jones High School in Houston in the class of ’67. He went on to attend the University of Houston, graduating with a Political Science degree, where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity, and made many lifelong friends. He has spent his life giving back to his beloved University of Houston and rooting for “The Cougars”
Don remained in Houston after graduation; he was involved with and helped start a number of pipe related companies beginning in 1972. He gained invaluable experience in the steel trading and import business and pioneered trade with the then new pipe mills of Japan during the late seventies. Over the years he has worked with oil and gas companies on their tubular programs in virtually every major producing region of the United States. He and his younger brother, Barry, launched Exploreco back in 1983, now known as Exploreco International LLC, where Don continued to work alongside his brother and son until his passing. Don and his brother Barry were more than just brothers and business partners; after the loss of their brother, Randy, Don and Barry developed a special bond that could only be described as the closest any two brothers could have. Barry describes Don as “…my brother, my business partner, my very best friend, my advisor, my confidant, my counselor, my father figure and so many other things…” This amazing, and seemingly unreal bond is what made their company successful and they both believed that they owed that to their “silent partner” Randy Neal Milner, who was never far from their minds.
When Don wasn’t at the office he could be found enjoying and living his life to the fullest: saltwater fishing and participating in one of many offshore fishing tournaments, attending a UH football or basketball game with family and friends, at his ranch teaching his granddaughters how to shoot, hunt, and drive cars. Don adored his grandchildren and he and his former wife, Lori, shared a special connection with them. The grandchildren brought new type of love and respect for one another as they both delighted in their roles as Grandad and Nana. They stood together for many programs and games and cheered for the little people that belonged to them. Most recently, Don had also taken up horseback riding and enjoyed that with his wife, Cindy, his brother Barry, and sister-in-law Celia, often visiting and riding the horses in Montana, another favorite place of Don’s. It didn’t always have to be an actual place though; being with his cousins, children, grandchildren and best friends was a favorite “place to be” for Don. His cousins, Larry Bailey, Merrill Bailey, Rusty Eichelberger, and Larry Milner all loved Don and looked up to him as a big brother.
Don is now reunited with his father, William Bolton Milner Jr., his mother, Reba Bailey Milner, and his brother, Randy Neal Milner.
He leaves behind his wife Cindy, and to continue his legacy, his son, Don Jr. and wife Lori, daughter, Natalie and husband Joel, and their mother, Lori Whittenburg, his grandchildren, Olivia, Catherine, Emily, and Madeline, his brother, Barry Milner and wife Celia, their daughters, Kaitlynn, Kyleigh, Kourtney, Kassidy, niece, Mara Jayne, and Natalie and Joel’s child, Hunter Milburn.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from six o’clock until nine o’clock in the evening on Monday, the 18th of May, in the library and grand foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
A memorial service in honor of Don’s life is to be conducted at eleven o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, the 19th of May, in The University Chapel at A.D. Bruce Religion Center at The University of Houston, 3801 Cullen Boulevard in Houston, where Mikado Hinson Pastor, will lead the service. (Kindly note parking will be available in UH Lot 12A at TDECU Stadium on Cougar Place Drive & Cullen Boulevard). Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception to be held in the Milner Lobby at TDECU Stadium.
Serving as honorary pallbearers are his cousins, Merrill Bailey, Larry Milner, and his best friends, Jim Faucett, Tom Herrlich, John Hubbard, Don Park, Randy Radcliffe, Dennis Robinson, Jay Solansky and Lei Chen, who loved him and enriched his life.
For those desiring, the family has suggested memorial contributions in Don’s name be directed to MD Anderson Cancer Center Research Foundation, Development Office Unit 705, P.O. Box 301439, Houston, TX 77230; or to University of Houston – Cougar Pride Foundation, 3100 Cullen Blvd, Ste. 2004, Houston, TX 77204; or to the charity of one’s choice.