Joseph Edward Milligan was born on November 27, 1927, in Carpinteria, California. He joined the Lord on April 20, 2019.
As a young child, the family moved to Surf, California, as his father was the Union Pacific agent at Surf. Joe had many happy memories while living at Surf and often talked about having the beach as his and his brothers' and sisters' vast playground. At that time, Surf was a blooming little city with all the amenities.
Joe, as a youngster, attended Linden School, the elementary school near Surf, before transferring to Lompoc schools. He joked that his brothers and sisters were driven to Linden school in a limousine.
Joe attended Lompoc High School graduating with the class of 1947. While there, he played football under Coach Emil Such, ran cross country and track, and served as ASB President. Subsequently, he attended Santa Maria Junior College (now Allan Hancock College). During WWII, three of his buddies and he decided to join the Navy. Following training at San Diego Naval Station, he was deployed to Seattle, Washington, where he was assigned to the newly-commissioned destroyer USS McLean. He was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific area where the McLean patrolled the waters off Japan and Okinawa. He was able to view the horrific destruction of the atomic bomb. He was honorably discharged from the United States Navy as a Machinist's Mate, First Class.
He was employed as the Body Shop Manager for then Ruffner & Schuyler and Beattie Motors for over 43 years. He often joked that he was a “real job hopper.”
Joe loved golfing, camping and any type of water sports. He was always happy when in or near the water and was an avid water skier. He was one of several who introduced water skiing to Lompoc many years ago. On weekends, it was not uncommon to find him and his wife Alice at Surf Lagoon with their boat, Ali-Joe, towing or teaching young people water skiing. It was a happy day when he acquired a sail boat, the Makaira. For many years after his retirement, he sailed the seas off the Santa Barbara Channel Islands.
Joe enjoyed the Caribbean Islands, and each year he and Alice would select an island to visit and explore, some of which they would return to for a second time. Together, they also were able to spend over seven weeks in Europe visiting a variety of countries.
Joe was involved in community activities. As a member of the then 20-30 Club, its mission was community service; therefore, on any weekend he and others from the club were out in the community helping to make the community a better place. He was heavily involved in the inauguration of the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce's Olde Town Market. He was the “Trusty Assistant” for the Lompoc Hospital District Foundation; therefore, he was recruited for its many activities and events. He could never reject a request for help from others and never had a negative word to say about anyone he met.
Joe is survived by his wife, Alice, with 66 years of a happy and loving marriage, and his loving and supportive caregivers - niece Debra Gray McCormick and nephew Tyler Perry. He was grateful to his many nieces and nephews, including nephews Norman Perry, George (Paloma) Perry, Michael George, Dan (Donna) George, James (Delcie) George, nieces Genevieve Perry Sweet, Lenore (Rick) Thompson, Karen (Dennis) Elam, Noreen (Mark) Tilton, Linda (Joe) Fazzari and numerous grand nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his father Joseph S. Milligan, mother Juanita Henry, stepfather Aaron Henry, brothers Robert and Kenneth, sisters Elinor Milligan Bewley and Bonnie Milligan Gray, and nephew Steven Bewley.
He was a charter member of the Lompoc Elks Lodge and the Lompoc Hospital District Foundation.
The visitation will be from 4-8 pm on Sunday, April 28, with the Evening Vigil service at 6 pm at Starbuck-Lind Chapel in Lompoc. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at La Purisima Concepcion Church, Lompoc, on Monday, April 29, 2019, at 10 am, with interment following at Lompoc Evergreen Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Lompoc Veterans Memorial Building immediately following the service. Donations can be made to the Lompoc Hospital District Foundation, PO Box 883, Lompoc, California 93438, or to a charity of your choice.