In Memory

Walter Millington

Walter Millington was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2010, but despite such a serious illness, he kept living his life to the full, and not letting the cancer get in the way of him enjoying himself. He went on holidays regularly, including a Mediterranean cruise, and was eating ice cream in Naples two days before he died. He also got to meet his granddaughter Maia.

There was a beautiful funeral service on the 8th October 2011 in his home village of Budoia, Italy, and a reception afterwards to celebrate his life. One of the main things reflected on was that Walter loved people and all his friends, and that was one of the main things that kept him going. So on his behalf, thank you all for being there for him and all the happiness you gave him.

This is from the all fac email Allan Berg sent out at the time: We are saddened to inform you that on 5 October 2011, we lost a valuable member of our UMUC Europe faculty. Walter S. Millington, Adjunct Associate Professor, passed away after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Walter earned his BA in Business Administration from University of Oklahoma and his MBA from Syracuse. Walter first started teaching for UMUC Europe in 1973, while he was active duty. He was an active member of our teaching staff, teaching the majority of his courses in the UK, and later in Italy. He taught his last seminar in March 2009. Walter was very well liked by students, faculty and staff. 

Walter is survived by his two sons, Marc and Matt.

  Post Comment

04/05/20 10:13 PM #1    

Joshua Mackles

Walt taught English for me at a Chinese university in Xi’an, China, during the summers of 2008 and 2009. In fact, the very first time I met Walt was the day he arrived in Beijing on his way to Xi’an. He had just arrived at his hotel, accompanied by a grad student, Zhao Zhibin or Wolf, his English name. 


Wolf had been sent by the school to meet Walt at the airport and to be his Beijing guide before sending him on to Xi’an. The school had sent Wolf the 750miles to Beijing by overnight rail at the cheapest possible fare, “hard seat,” which is as awful at it sounds. And while Walt spent his week in a nice comfortable hotel room, Wolf was relegated to a bunk bed in a cramped dorm room and only given a small stipend for food. 


Walt would have none of this. He decided he would pay for all of Wolf’s meals while in Beijing, and instead of letting Wolf return to Xi’an by hard seat, Walt bought him a ticket out of his own pocket to accompany him on his flight to Xi’an. This was the first but not the last instance I’d seen of Walt’s generosity. 


During one weekend Walt took Wolf with him to visit the famous Shaolin temple. Walt paid for Wolf’s flight and room. While there he made the acquaintance of a young Chinese couple. The woman’s face had been badly scarred in a fire, and she had been ostracized because of her appearance. Walt adopted this couple as well, visited them at their home and invited them to come visit him in Xi’an, which they did. 


We teachers at Xi’an had one assignment - to get the students to speak. But with classes sizes of 30 or more students, and only 3 weeks to work with, this was mission impossible. Walt’s solution was to individually invite every single student in his class to either lunch or dinner, at his expense, so that he could work with these students one on one. 


In 2010, while in Italy, Walt was hit by a car. The injury to his back kept him from returning to Xi’an that summer, but he talked excitedly to me about the prospects of his returning in 2011. However, by 2011 the cancer diagnosis was in. The treatments left him tired and thin. Although he still wanted to go back to Xi’an that summer, I urged him to stay home and focus on his health so as to be ready for 2012. Sadly, that day never came.


We were all pretty busy with our own classes in Xi’an, so I did not get to spend a lot of time with Walt. And I will admit that at first I did not like this Vietnam war vet and his outdated world view. But his generosity, his love of adventure, his fearlessness when it came to trying new things, and especially his genuine warmth for his students and his adopted Chinese family members left a deep impression on me, still, 10 years later. RIP Walt. Miss you, bud!

[That's Walt, dressed in white, with Wolf directly to his left, after dinner with our Chinese hosts.]


  Post Comment