Pauline "Polly" Milius died from leukemia on April 12, 2019 at her home in Washington where she had lived for nearly a half-century. She was 77.
Polly was born and raised in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Joseph Earle Hamilton and Pauline Ernst Hamilton. After attending Wooster College in Ohio for a year, she transferred to Barnard College in search of a broader experience. She graduated in 1963, and the same year married Peter Milius in Louisville. In 1964, the couple moved to Connecticut so that Polly could pursue a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in History at Yale University. She earned a Master's Degree in 1965, but decided that academia was not her calling, so they moved that year to Washington where her husband began a nearly-40 year career with the Washington Post.
In Washington, Polly worked for a short time in social work and then as a research assistant at the Brookings Institution. When her youngest child entered kindergarten, she returned to school to earn a law degree at Georgetown. She then clerked for Judge Barrington D. Parker for two years before beginning a 30-year career in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Justice Department. She was a litigator for 13 years and then was appointed Chief of the Policy, Legislation and Special Litigation Section, from which she retired in 2010.
Polly and Peter owned a 240 acre farm in Fulton County, Pennsylvania which they bought in 1978 with a close friend and a family member. Her family spent most weekends and much time in the summer at the farm. She was intently focused on balancing personal and professional life, and creating a refuge for her family outside of the DC grind.
Polly lived life richly - she thrived on complexity and packing the most she could into a plan. She was an avid tennis fan (feisty both as a player and spectator), and was active with tai-chi, hiking, book groups, continuing education courses, travel, and volunteer work at the Public Library and All Saints Church thrift store. She gave her heart to her family and to supporting and nurturing her wide network of friends that spanned her life from elementary school to the present. She leaves behind two children, Robert (50) and Sarah (48), 6 grandchildren, her longtime companion George Hellmuth, and her faithful cat Lewellyn.
A memorial service will be held on her birthday, May 15, 2019, at 2:00 pm at the Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church (9601 Cedar Lane, Bethesda, MD). An additional service will be held in Louisville, KY on Friday, June 21st at 11:00 am at St Matthew's Episcopal Church (330 North Hubbards Lane, Louisville, KY). In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the "Sideling Hill Fund (in memory of Pauline Milius)", at the Greater Washington Community Foundation (1325 G St NW, Suite 480, Washington, DC 20005, https://www.thecommunityfoundation.org/donate).