Attention to Detail: William Rice Milward, Jr.

William Rice Milward, Jr.

1869-1947

Born in 1869, “Will,” as he was affectionately known to his friends, joined his father in the family business in 1892 at the age of 23.

It has been written that the Latin phrase on the Milward coat-of-arms — nec termere, nec temide — best described Will Milward: “Neither boldly, nor timidly.” He embodied each of these seemingly contradictory traits, always finding the balance. His great talent was establishing a strong attention to detail. It remains his legacy.

That attention to detail was often born out of thoughtfulness for bereaved families. When it was customary to conduct funerals in homes, for instance, Will carried a small oil can in his pocket. He’d check for squeaky door hinges and oil them to prevent loud sounds by late arrivers from interrupting a service.

Often he would join a quartet to sing in the service if need be — which was second nature to him because he regularly sang at Centenary Methodist Church, located at the time directly opposite the Broadway funeral home.

He was one of the first members of the Lexington Rotary Club organized in 1915 and, as chairman of attendance, would often pick up members who had missed the previous Thursday meeting and take them to Georgetown to make up their attendance.

When seeking the services of other tradesmen for small jobs, Will often would not ask them what was owed but merely extended a handful of coins and say, “Take out what you want.”

Will went on to serve on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, became Director of the Lexington Rotary Club, and served 11 terms on the vestry of Christ Episcopal Church.

Not long after joining the family business, a quality horse-drawn hearse was purchased in 1895. Restored today, the hearse can be viewed at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Will took over the business when his father died in 1915. During his years the business had expanded into moving, packing, and storing of household goods — along with an ambulance service. By 1917 horses were no longer regarded as the ideal means of transportation. Milward began to motorize their many vehicles.

The Beginnings: Joseph Milward
Joseph Milward

1803-1883

Born in Baltimore in 1803, Joseph was brought to Lexington as a young child by his widowed mother. At 16 he became an apprentice cabinet maker and for a time was a journeyman craftsman in Cincinnati and later in Richmond, Ky.

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A Key Decision: Col. William Rice Milward
Col. William Rice Milward

1842-1915

When Joseph retired, he turned the business over to his remaining sons in 1865. One of these sons, Colonel William Rice Milward, would eventually assume the leadership role.

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Attention to Detail: William Rice Milward, Jr.
William Rice Milward, Jr.

1869-1947

Born in 1869, “Will,” as he was affectionately known to his friends, joined his father in the family business in 1892 at the age of 23.

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An Admired Civic Leader: William Emmet Milward
William Emmet Milward

1904-1972

Emmet Milward entered the family business in 1926 and by 1942 had played an instrumental role in completing a comprehensive expansion and rehabilitation of the mortuary at 159 North Broadway.

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Continuing the Tradition: Robert Emmet Milward
Robert Emmet Milward

1936-Present

A graduate of the University of Virginia, Bob has carried forth the Milward tradition while serving on several professional associations — including Selected Independent Funeral Homes, Kentucky Funeral Directors Association and the National Foundation of Funeral Service.

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The Youngest Generation: Robert Emmet Milward, Jr.
Robert Emmet Milward, Jr.

1969-Present

The sixth generation of the family to carry on the Milward family tradition, Robert E. Milward Jr. Joined his father in the business in 1994, and currently serves as Vice President.

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