Eleanor Milliken

Eleanor T Milliken (Toby)

Wednesday, January 5th, 1927 - Saturday, March 20th, 2021
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Dover- Eleanor T. Milliken, 94, passed away March 20, 2021, at Watson Fields in Dover.

Born January 5, 1927 in Eliot, ME, she was the daughter of the late Walter Tobey and Edith (Beetham) Tobey, and the wife of the late Frank Milliken.

Eleanor worked for many years at the Oyster River High School as a science teacher. She was honored with the Presidential Award for science teaching and was a chairperson for the Dover school board. She taught many things in her long career, including fencing and skating, and had many stories about her numerous field trips.

Eleanor is survived by her son, Walter Milliken, his wife, Elizabeth McCoy of Dover, and their child, Io McCoy; one brother, Wilbur Tobey of Dover; a brother in law, Bucky Perkins of Unity, ME; and several nephews.

Services are private and will be held at the convenience of the family, to help prevent the spread of covid-19 in the community. To sign our online guestbook, please go to
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Service Details

  • Interment

    Pine Hill Cemetery
    131 Central Ave.
    Dover, NH 03820
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Mary Hardy

Posted at 04:42pm
Oh my, what a remarkable spirit and inspiration to me as a freshman at Oyster River High School in the late 60’s. I was in her Earth Science class. I hated high school and felt like an outcast. She got to know her students and leaned on us to do our best, even under achievers like me. She had unrelenting enthusiasm even for failed endeavors like the spirit club which included a handful of my quirky and quiet classmates . The plan was we would march at Oyster River sporting events. We marched in the school halls to a bass drum. This was not well received by my more socially astute classmates. I have to say I folded to that judgement but as I matured, I admired her guts and vision for a more inclusive high school social scene.

Her dedication to teaching and her students was one of the best models to living a good life I had growing up. What a blessing to know Mrs. Milliken.

My sympathy to her family and to all her students and colleagues.

Mary Hardy

Katrina G Boyajian

Posted at 08:12am
Ellie was a firecracker, with a drive to educate, enlighten, inspire, and lift up her students, that cannot possibly be fully captured in words. Her enthusiasm for life was so strong, you couldn't help but share it, whether that meant building and running a planetarium in your own high school, or being part of a six week, 35-student expedition she led across the United States. Her storytelling ability was beyond compare (there are tales she shared with us almost half a century ago, that every single member of my family still recalls with great hilarity), but so was her empathy. And whether we went on to careers in the sciences or some other field, the lessons she taught us (in class and by example) have remained true and invaluable: always remember that solid foundations & dreams are mutually dependent rather than mutually exclusive; embrace adventures that challenge you; explore your world; be curious, be thorough, and be kind; never stop learning. She was what every teacher aspires to be, and the world is so much emptier without her in it. Those of us whose lives she impacted so strongly, will forever remember her with love, filled with gratitude that our lives intersected with hers.

Thom Davis

Posted at 05:13pm
My condolences to Walter and family on the passing of Eleanor Milliken. Without a doubt, I owe my career as an academic geologist and paleoclimatologist to her enthusiasm and support as my Earth science teacher in both the eighth and ninth grades, the latter year being her inaugural college-prep Earth Science course at ORHS, which included laboratory exercises that were equivalent to many college-level courses. I had the chance to give a little back by soliciting support letters for her honorary PhD at Mt Holyoke College where I was on faculty in 1984, the year after she won the first National Science Teacher of the Year Award in the state of New Hampshire. In 1984, there were over a dozen of her students who had earned PhDs in Earth Sciences, likely a record unmatched at that time. As others have noted, Eleanor was well connected to NASA and the U.S. Space Program; she was the leading candidate to become the first school teacher in space. However, she fortunately passed up that opportunity because it would have required too much time away from her students and teaching for the extended NASA training program.
-- P. Thompson Davis, ORHS, 1967

Douglas Knight

Posted at 01:40pm
I had the luxury of working under “Ellie” Milliken when she took advantage of an opportunity to develop laser disc lesson plans using HyperCard, an early hypermedia that was before Web browsers. In effect it looked much like PowerPoint. Ellie wrote and received a grant to incorporate laser discs for video and images that worked in her lesson plans. Her most successful use was in the Planetarium she had installed. The class was planetarium operations and supervision where her students would learn constellations and their stories, and astronomy. The students would then produce their own HyperCard planetarium shows that were offered to local day care facilities and Elementary Schools.
An inspired and inventive teacher, she convinced NASA that the retrieval practice Apollo 8 space capsule should be displayed on the ORHS campus where it remained for many years.

Phyllis MacKay

Posted at 11:23am
Working with Ellie at Oyster River High School.....oh, such a positive and memorable experience! Ever the professional, Ellie provided an academic program that met the needs and expectations of all students. In addition, and with no exception, Ellie cared deeply about her students and co-workers. She was kind and sweet, ever a twinkle in her eye, always ready to take on more than was asked. I will smile each time I remember her and keep her in my heart.

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