Milton James Arter, 89, longtime educator who devoted his life to public education | Port City Daily
HAMPSTEAD — Milton James Arter, 89, beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend, passed peacefully away Wednesday morning, June 23, 2021. He was preceded in death by his parents, Francis and Helena Brammeier Arter; and sister, Arleen Cramer-Omerod. Milt was born Oct. 18, 1931, in St. Louis, Missouri, before moving to Flora and Mattoon, Illinois.
Milt was fortunate to meet the love of his life, Mary Martha Ellis, while at Murray State University in western Kentucky. Milt and Mary were both education majors. They met in a Russian history class where Mary received a higher grade than her future husband, the history major. They fondly recalled their dollar dates, which covered two movie tickets and two cokes. They hitchhiked to the movies.
They married the day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 25, 1953. They were the second couple wed in the campus Presbyterian Church. The minister took the wedding photos. Milt had borrowed $100 from his sister to pay for Mary’s engagement and wedding rings. Their first apartment was over the garage of a house. Mary was then an elementary teacher while Milt finished his senior year of college. For Christmas, Milt gave Mary a bucket and mop, as it was all he could afford and it was something they needed.
They remained happily married for over 67 years. They have two children, Jim (Paula) Arter and Kimberly (Neal Ross); and four grandsons, Seth Arter, Jesse Ross, Nolan Ross and Samuel Ross.
Milt gave his life to public education. He worked in eight different school districts, the first in Detroit, Michigan, the last seven were throughout Ohio. He began as a high school and junior high school history teacher, while after school hours, teaching adult education and driver’s education and coaching several sports. Milt became a high school principal, twice was an assistant superintendent and then was a superintendent in three districts. He received his B.S. from Murray State (1954), graduate studies from the University of Michigan (1955-56), Masters of Education and Administration from Miami of Ohio (1960) and his Ph.D. in Administration and Curriculum from Miami of Ohio (1973).
As a prolific writer, Milt wrote in his opening sentence to his philosophy of education, “The purpose of our schools should be to educate children with a knowledge of the past, but also a sense of their presence within a community along with a curious drive for achievement which will mold the future of both.”
Raising a family was a significant part of Milt and Mary’s life. Milt was both little league baseball manager and family photographer. Family vacations tended to have a historic bent. Thousands of slides and photos have been discovered tumbling out of drawers, scores of which show his two children sitting upon Revolutionary and Civil War cannons from throughout the eastern United States.
After moving around and raising a family for much of their marriage, Milt and Mary retired to their dream home alongside the 16th fairway of a favorite golf course in Hampstead, where they resided for the past 32 years.
Milt and Mary were active in the First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, where Milt was both an elder and deacon, along with serving on multiple committees. Milt was instrumental in the building of the Children’s Wing of the Hampstead Library and writing the bylaws for his burgeoning neighborhood.
In retirement, Milt and Mary enjoyed visiting all 50 states before trekking across much of the world. Milt, until the end of his life, loved continuing to keep up with national and world events, debating anyone on most any topic and being with family and friends.
In lieu of flowers send memorial donations in the name of Milton Arter to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
A small private ceremony will be held in the Kenan Chapel in the First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington followed by the interment of Milton Arter in the columbarium at the church.
Share online condolences with the family at Andrews Mortuary & Crematory.
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