Milton Morris Small, 92, passed away in the early morning
hours of July 6, 2015 at Valley View Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. He was born in Notus, Idaho on New Year’s
Day, 1923, the son of Linus Earl Small and Gustine Marie Ohren Small. He attended school in Ten Davis and Notus. He made his first journey to Boise at the age
of six when his father was elected to the Idaho State Legislature from Canyon
County. Due to his extremely high IQ, Milton
skipped three grades, graduating from Notus High School at the age of 15. He graduated from the University of Oregon at
the age of 19, Phi Beta Kappa – one of the top six in his class. Two weeks after his 20
he was inducted into the United States Army and stationed at Fort Carson,
Colorado. He married his child hoodsweetheart, Muriel Lenore Burtch, in Colorado Springs on June 25, 1943. During World War II, he served in the
European front and along with his fellow soldiers, participated in the
liberation of a Nazi German concentration camp in Austria at the end of the
Like many service members returning from active duty, he started
a family and a career, saying that the only place he wanted to live and die was
Boise. His daughter Barbara Lenore was
born in 1947; his son Douglas Ford in 1949; followed by Mary Margaret in 1952. Milton began a teaching career in Adrian,
Oregon in 1947, and the following year began teaching history at Boise
High. He also was a Boys’ Guidance Counselor
at Boise High and later was promoted as a Supervisor of Secondary Education for
the Independent School District of Boise.
He left teaching to work for the Office of Continuing Education. He was appointed by the Idaho State Board of
Education as its Executive Director, retiring on his 60
in 1983. After his retirement, he joined
the staff at Boise State University as Professor Emeritus. He taught a special program on the American
Presidency among other history courses, with particular interest in the Cold
War and World War II.
He said he left teaching once his hearing loss prevented him
from understanding his students’ questions. He was an avid gardener and
continued enjoying his gardening long after his retirement. His wife Muriel died in 1995 and in 2004, he
relocated to Valley View Retirement Community.
He was a history buff and continued to read and write about the Great War
through many of his last years. On a
visit to Washington, DC, he was elated when he made contact with his WW II Battery
Commander. Milton remained in the Army
Reserves retiring at the rank of Major. He
also served as an officer for the Boise Committee on Foreign Relations, which
allowed him to travel to favorite cities, New York and Washington. Milton received his Master’s Degree in
History at the University of Wisconsin and was selected for a fellowship
program at Stanford University. He
taught graduate classes at the College of Idaho, played the piano, watched more
baseball games in a week than most people might see in a lifetime; he listened
to opera, and wrote poetry. His grandchildren
viewed him as their “hero” and he was named the Idaho Statesman Distinguished
Citizen in 1974.
Milton is survived by his daughters, Barbara L. Walker (Dr.
Donald) of Garden Valley and Mary M. Spidell of Boise; his son Douglas F. Small
of Washington, DC; his grandchildren Sean Small, Lindsay Clayborn and Andrew
Spidell of Boise; and a niece and four nephews.
He was proceeded in death by his parents, his wife, his sister Pearl
Lewis and his brother Lyle Small.
A memorial service with Military Honors will be conducted at
Alden-Waggoner Chapel at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21, 2015.