Gibbs Milliken In Memoriam
Gibbs Milliken, one of the UT Art Department's most adventurous instructors, has passed away at age 71
Belated condolences to the family, friends, and former students of Gibbs Milliken, one of the University of Texas Art Department's most adventurous instructors, who passed away on Nov. 20 following a long bout with cancer. He was 71. As an artist, Milliken spent his share of time in the studio, working on paintings, drawings, and photographs, and he logged more than four decades in the classrooms at UT. (Milliken taught this writer life-drawing back in the late Seventies.) But he was perhaps most at home in the great outdoors, and his love of nature took him far afield of his native Texas, to the rainforest of the Amazon and the jungles of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean islands. He studied the rock and cave art of Amazon tribes in Venezuela and pre-Columbian survival traits of Latin American Indians and became familiar enough with tropical botany to serve as director of the Organization for Tropical Research and Exploration. His travels abroad served not only as inspiration for his art but made for many wild and woolly anecdotes, which he shared with his students and colleagues as well as his loved ones. The artist's early years were spent in Houston, but he grew up in Kerrville, where he graduated from the Schreiner Institute. He obtained his bachelor's degree from Trinity University in San Antonio and his master's from Michigan's Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1965. Upon returning to Texas, Milliken got a job at UT and remained there until his retirement in 2006. In addition to his work at the university, Milliken worked as an artist with the NASA Apollo space program and the NASA Tektite II underseas project, and he had a long association with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, serving as a field photographer and outdoor-products field tester. (He was a world-class fly-fisherman, in addition to everything else.) His images and writing appeared in the department's magazine for years, right through the summer of 2007. Milliken is survived by his wife, Marie; daughter Tamara and her husband, Dwight; daughter Adana and her husband, Mike; grandsons David and Paul Gipson; and sister Alice Milliken Combs. Contributions may be made to the Gibbs Milliken Scholarship Fund in the UT Department of Art and Art History.