William Milliken, Michigan’s longest serving governor, dies

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FILE - In this April 18, 2006 file photo, former Gov. William G. Milliken speaks with a reporter at his home in Traverse City, Mich. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is renaming a state park along the Detroit River in Detroit for ex-Gov. William Milliken. (AP Photo/John L. Russell, File)

William G. Milliken has passed away at the age of 97.

The “gentleman” governor led the state from 1969 to 1983. He was a moderate Republican widely respected for his ability to bridge the two parties to accomplish state business.

Milliken had dreamed of becoming governor as a teenager and was elected to serve as a state senator in 1960 after flying 50 combat missions on B-24 bombers during WWII. He was eventually elected Lt. Governor and rose to the governorship when George Romney stepped down to join Richard Nixon’s cabinet in 1969.

Voters in Michigan would elect him to three more terms.

A proud environmentalist, many of the policies he instituted during his time in office remain on the books in The Great Lakes State to this day.

He was preceded in death by his wife Helen in 2012.

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