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Al MIllham - 1920-2002


Tue Sep 10 19:18:30 2002
District 18 Loses Heart & Soul
By Joe Torosian
JUNE 16, 1920 – SEPTEMBER 3, 2002

    If you’ve spent any time at a Little League ballpark over the last forty years chances are you saw a tall distinguished looking fellow at an opening day ceremony. In later years you might have seen him with a District 18 cap on loaded down with pins, a cane, a smile, and a wave at his introduction to the crowd. He was genial, kind, and the definition of grandfather to everybody who longed to have one. He was full of encouragement, stability, and hugs. Al Millham, truly the heart and soul of the District 18 baseball, past away last week at his home in Temple City.

    “Al Millham was Little League baseball and Little League baseball was Al Millham, it was really hard to separate the two,” said Temple City National President Kristen Dearth. “It’s really hard to imagine us going on without him.” “He was Mr. Baseball,” said Jody Bush of South El Monte. “He touched a lot of lives in the San Gabriel Valley.”

    Al was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada on June 16, 1920. He moved to Glendale, California when he was 2 ½ years old. He graduated from Glendale High School where he ran track, played football, baseball and tennis. He served in World War II aboard the aircraft carriers U.S.S. Block Island and U.S.S. Ticonderoga, as an electricians mate. Upon his discharge in 1945 he went to work as a lineman for Southern California Telephone Company, later named Pacific Telephone. He retired in 1978 as a 2nd level manager, with 32 years of service. He married his bride of 57 years, Jackie, on February 25, 1945. “Jackie is the best,” said Dearth of Mrs. Millham was by her husband’s side until the end. They had three children, Kathi, Pat and Tom, seven grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren.

    Al became involved in Little League in Temple City in 1955 as an umpire. In 1961 he became President of Temple City National Little League and went on to become Assistant District Administrator and finally District Administrator for California District 18. He served on Little League Baseball’s International Board of Directors in Williamsport Pennsylvania from 1984-1987. He retired as District Administrator at the end of the 1995 season but remained active on the District 18 Staff through the 2002 season, serving in all, over 48 years of volunteer service to Little League Baseball.

    He was a member and Past President of Temple City Kiwanis Club, serving for many years as treasurer. He also served terms on Temple City’s Traffic Commission and served on the Planning Commission at the time of Temple City’s Incorporation in 1960. He was an active member of the Ramrodders, the parent booster club at Temple City High School where his children, three of his grandchildren and, so far, 2 of his great grandchildren attended. Since 1955 Al could count on one hand the number of TCHS football games he missed. He also loved the basketball games. He loved most to watch his grandchildren and great grandchildren play baseball and softball. He remained an avid fan of TCHS Softball, loving to watch one granddaughter who is a coach. “I remember him telling us, if we needed anything he would be there for us,” said Sergio Vazquez of El Monte National. “He’ll be missed.” “He treated us like family,” said Dearth. “My first year as president he held my hand all the way through.”

    Al maintained his TCNLL connections through the years by giving the invocations at both the opening and closing ceremonies on the field that was renamed in his honor in 2000. “I don’t think people realized how spiritual he really was. He’d be at every game, but when there was a tournament game on Sunday he’d say; ‘I’m sorry Kristen, but church comes first’ and he didn’t come down. He’d spend the day at his church teaching Sunday School, or be with his family.” Al was laid to rest on Saturday, September 7 at Rose Hills in Whittier.

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