Cover photo for Milton Morris Small, World War Ii Veteran, Educator's Obituary

Milton Morris Small, World War Ii Veteran, Educator

Milton Morris Small, World War Ii Veteran, Educator


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 th birthday, 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 war.

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 th birthday 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.
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