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Fri., April 19, 2013, 7:05 a.m.

RIP: Etter Milla

Etter Milla for Becky Nappi blog (Dan Pelle)
Etter Milla for Becky Nappi blog (Dan Pelle)

In this week of chaos and deep sorrow, and the reminders from Boston that no one is truly safe from acts of violence, it's good to pause and remember the good people among us.

Etter Milla, buried today, was one of the good ones.

The son of Italian immigrants, Milla grew up an Italian neighborhood in Spokane, served in World War II and returned to Spokane where he married Patricia Lyonnais and  raised a family that eventually grew to include seven children, 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He worked in several of Spokane's mainstay institutions, including Kaiser Trentwood and  Washington Water Power (now Avista).

He was humble and kind and remained active to the end of his life, giving back to the community. His body had weakened in recent years and last time I saw him, at the montly Lunch Bunch group he organized, he was complimentary about the paper. His voice had weakened to a whisper.

Later he sent me a history of the club with this last line:

Rebecca: "As you can see my letter writing is not so good. If you have any questions call me."

He died surrounded by his children and grandchildren. His services were well-attended.

We must remember, as the bad guys who blow up things get all the attention, that there are more men like Etter Milla who was always grateful for America, proud to be both Italian and American, a man who felt he owed his community and country his time and enthusiasm. He gave both to the end of his life.

Godspeed, Etter.

(Dan Pelle/S-R photo)

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.