WILMINGTON — Frankie Lane Milliken, 73, passed away peacefully on Friday, February 24, 2023, after a courageous battle with ALS. He was a graduate of West Columbus High School, Class of ’67.
He was drafted into the US Army and served from 1969-1971 in Vietnam and Germany.
Frankie grew up on a tobacco farm in Eastern North Carolina learning the importance of hard work and family values. His knowledge of tobacco landed him a job traveling on the tobacco market and experiencing life throughout the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland. He answered his county’s call to duty in Vietnam as an Army-trained meteorologist. Following his Honorable Discharge, he returned to Columbus County and started his career in industrial maintenance with Dupont Corporation in Leland.
He married Sybil Carlyle in 1971 and established their home in Bladen County where he raised his children, Wesley and April. He attended New Light Church in Bladenboro, served as a Deacon, chairman of the Building Committee, and Sunday School teacher.
His family moved to Wilmington in the late 80s where he worked for Dupont subcontractors, Envirotech, Inpro, and Heist Corp., in both managerial and engineering roles. Using his keen mechanical ingenuity, he designed tools that led to technological advances in the industry earning him the nickname, Tinker. He loved tinkering with tools and was an excellent carpenter and mechanic.
In 1993 Frankie married Angie McCurry and moved to Carolina Beach. He enjoyed long walks on the beach with her and the dogs. Frankie loved hiking the North Carolina mountains with friends. When the opportunity to open a new office in Spartanburg, South Carolina, presented itself, he jumped at the chance to move to Angie’s home in the mountains. He lived there surrounded by his in-laws and a community who quicky embraced him. Eventually, travel for his job became too exhausting, so he retired to design and build his home in the mountains.
Frankie was described as a Foxhole Guy. Frankie always had a friend’s back, a smile or a joke to keep you at ease, a quick wit, a gentle strength, and he never gave up. Thus, the type of guy you were glad to know, and share your foxhole of life with. Frankie was the one you could count on to stick by you when things got tough. He would never back down or be scared in any situation, he was right there with you in the thick of things, a true Foxhole Guy.
Frankie knew the importance of being a good friend and neighbor. He was always willing to lend a hand to help build something or fix anything that was broken. He was trustworthy and could be relied on for help whenever you needed him. If you called, he was there. Everyone who knew Frankie valued his kind and gentle spirit, his wonderful sense of humor, and his amazing smile.
Frankie is survived by his wife of 29 years, Angie Milliken; a son Wesley Milliken, and his wife Megan Cole Milliken, and granddaughter Cameron Olivia; a daughter, April Nicole Hardison; a sister, Betty Ivey, and her family, Bud Ivey, Paul, Cody, Alexis, Colin, and Max Douglas; his former wife and mother of his children, Sybil Carlyle and her husband Jerry; and special cousins who were thought of more as siblings, Ken Milliken, Pansy Walker, and Harold Millican.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Olivia Milliken; his brother, Bill Milliken; and a special niece, Wendy Douglas.
Funeral Services will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 4, 2023, at Montford Cove Missionary Baptist Church, in Union Mills, North Carolina. The family will receive friends from 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., prior to the Memorial Service. Condolences may be sent directly to Montford Cove Missionary Baptist Church at 4920 Cove Road, Union Mills, NC 28167.
Later in March or April, a Celebration of Life Ceremony will be held at Fort Fisher, North Carolina, a place that held fond memories.
The family would like to express their appreciation to the staff of Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, North Carolina, for their kindness and amazing care.