Michigan’s longest-serving first lady, Helen Milliken, has died. She was 89.
Milliken was Michigan’s first lady for 14 years from 1969 to 1983. Her husband William Milliken was the lieutenant governor when Governor George Romney resigned to become part of President Nixon’s cabinet.
Helen Milliken established a reputation in her own right as an advocate for environmental causes and women’s rights. Her positions, like those of her husband, sometimes put her at odds with the Republican Party’s more conservative wing.
Helen Milliken’s activism continued after she and her husband retired. An annual environmental award is named for both of them.
The Milliken family told various news services that she died at her home in Traverse City following a battle with ovarian cancer.
Listen back to an IPR interview with Helen Milliken from 2010 here.