There are people in life who become instant family. Back in my first college days at East Texas State University, I met Alice French while singing in the bathroom of the girls dorm. She popped her head around the corner, saw me sitting on the floor, singing and playing guitar, and asked if I wouldn’t rather come sing to her while she did her artwork (we were in an art dorm!)

That led to a life-long friendship with Alice, her two brothers, Chip and Howard, and her fantastic mom and dad, Hugh and Millie French, who became parents to me. It was my first introduction to a family that loved to sail, loved to drink Bloody Marys on Sunday mornings, and Hugh’s homemade breakfast sidedish called SCRAPPLE that was one of a kind and hot off the griddle.

Millie was a hoot. She was tiny. She couldn’t have been any bigger than Thumbelina, but she was spunky, she was smart, she didn’t stand for any tomfoolery, but loved tomfoolery all the same. And she loved her kids. Loved loved loved them. And if only you could have seen Hugh and Millie together. I have never seen a more devoted man than Hugh was to Millie.
They were endearing together, especially at the piano, Millie singing harmony to Hugh and belting out the lyrics of “Hoorah hoorah, is you de law?” on “Long Tall Texan.”

Millie has left us, but not without leaving a trail of happy memories for each of us to recall whenever we are missing her.

Blue Skies, Millie! I miss you already. I’ll be seeing you with every sail I see!

December 30, 2008

Loving wife and mother, Mildred (Millie) Daniels French passed away peacefully on December 30, 2008 in Cape Coral, Florida. Born in Gulfport, MS on August 24, 1929,
Millie was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Ida Daniels, and her sister, Alice Anders, and brother Bob Daniels.

Following graduation from Perkinston Junior College in MS, Millie met and married Hugh L. French Jr. from Baltimore, MD where, after their marriage in 1954, they resided for several years before relocating to Dallas, TX. They lived there for 30 years and raised three children, Hugh III (Chip) of Palestine, TX, Howard of St.Thomas, USVI, and Alice of Punta Gorda, FL.

Until recently, Millie was active in her community and church and enjoyed camping, sailing, and spending time with family and friends. Following Hughʼs retirement in 1992,
they embarked on a major life-style change: they sold their home in Texas and moved aboard a 40 foot trawler in Florida where they spent the next several years cruising the inland and off shore waters of the southeast. The experience strengthened their marriage and produced a wide array of memories and challenges. They came back ashore at Burnt Store Marina near Punta Gorda, FL where they lived until Millie was admitted to the Harbor, a memory impairment unit of Gulf Coast Village in Cape Coral, FL.

Millie is survived by her husband and three children, and spouses, Cindy French, Jan French, and Joe Stidham, a granddaughter, Rachel, and great-granddaughter, Cami, as well as a multitude of friends and family scattered across the country and the Caribbean.

A Memorial service was celebrated on Saturday, January 3, 2009 at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Punta Gorda, FL . A second Memorial service will be celebrated at St. James Episcopal Church, 9845 McCree Road, Dallas, TX on Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 10:30 AM followed by a reception in the Parish Hall. The favor of your intentions will be appreciated. Inurnment will be at Restland Cemetary for immediate family only.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Alzheimers Foundation of America, 322 8th Avenue., 7th Floor, New York, NY 10001, or Hope Hospice, 9470 Healthpark Circle, Fort Myers, FL 33908.

One Comment “Millie”

  • Yes, there are people in our lives who affect us profoundly. A touching tribute to Millie,I mean sailing, bloody marys and tomfoolery. What’s not to like?!

    I can see just picture you on a dorm room floor strumming away (I am sure it was the acoustics).

    I hope you’ll remember me, I once drove from Denver to Telluride to find you sick as a dog backstage, yet you went on anyway. You sang Itsy Bitsy Spider to my daughter backstage at The Air Force Academy and we once got fairly trying to find a radio station in Salt Lake. You are one of those people in my life my friend. A positive experience, a wonderful set of memories for me. I sent you an email just now, I hope you’ll find a moment to read it.


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