Francis Davis Millet

Francis Davis Millet, at the age of 100, passed away peacefully on November 15 in Milton. A reservoir of dry wit, quiet kindness and enduring wisdom, legendary coach and teacher Francis Davis Millet—“Mr. Millet”—was revered among generations of Milton Academy alumni and among today’s students. Mr. Millet was born on May 25, 1917. He was named after his grandfather, Francis Davis Millet, a drummer boy during the American Civil War and Harvard graduate (Class of 1869), who became one of the most brilliant painters of the Gilded Age, and was lost in the sinking of the Titanic. Mr. Millet grew up on Long Island, New York, and attended the Green Vale School. In eighth grade he went to Middlesex Academy in Concord, where he first picked up a squash racket. Mr. Millet began teaching while still a student at Harvard College, tutoring students in Latin at the Shady Hill School in Cambridge. He graduated from Harvard in 1940 and taught for two years at a boys’ school in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he met Milton faculty member Arthur Perry. When he returned east, Mr. Millet joined the Milton Academy faculty as a sixth grade teacher in 1942. By 1945, Mr. Millet had become floor master at Robbins House and taught in the English and Classics departments; by 1968 he taught Latin exclusively, and he continued to do so through 2007. Mr. Millet devoted himself fully, with affection and firm support, to students for nearly seven decades as a teacher, advisor, dormitory master, secretary of the faculty, director of ?nancial aid, director of admission and, of course, as architect of the School’s squash program. For 29 years he lived in dormitories, and afterward, until his death, lived on campus, involved daily in the lives of students. Mr. Millet founded the squash program at Milton in 1964; he stewarded its athletes, coaches and facilities through the present day. Mr. Millet launched a tradition of winning and sportsmanship; he coached through 2007, enlisting and mentoring a number of faculty and graduates as coaching assistants and partners over the years. Through his late 80s, Mr. Millet got out on the court nearly daily. Since its inception, Mr. Millet was a strong supporter of the girls’ squash program, quietly laying the foundation for growth. A large number of Milton squash athletes played squash at the collegiate level. A handful of Milton squash alumni have even played at the professional level. Mr. Millet helped Milton Academy increase the diversity among students and faculty, implement co-education in the early 1980s, and enroll greater numbers of international students. A frequent traveler to Hong Kong on Milton’s behalf, Mr. Millet developed a particularly close relationship with many Hong Kong students and families over the years, now graduates and parents of current students. Mr. Millet witnessed numerous significant facilities changes across campus and served seven School heads. Reflecting on changes during his tenure, Mr. Millet used to say that he’d outlasted the typewriter and was prepared to outlast the computer. He was the first coach on campus, however, to use the website to spread the word about his sport. Students, faculty and alumni treasure Mr. Millet’s handwritten notes in calligraphy. He sent them, in inquiry and response, over all his years, and until 2012 his hand rendered in calligraphy every one of Milton’s diplomas. In May 2002, Mr. Millet received the Milton Medal, Milton Academy’s most prestigious award. In 2005, Mr. Millet received Middlesex’s Henry Cabot Lodge ’20 Distinguished Alumni Award. In June 2007, in recognition of both Mr. Millet’s years of service and his 90th birthday, friends and former students joined together to establish the Frank D. Millet Scholarship, which recognizes “a student who demonstrates high moral integrity, is supportive of classmates.”. In 2008, a new dormitory, Millet House, was dedicated in Mr. Millet’s honor. This past June, more than 600 students, parents and friends gathered to honor Mr. Millet on his 100th birthday with a celebration on the Quad. Memories and moments of gratitude were shared by former Board President Marshall Schwarz ’54 P’84, J.B. Pritzker ’82, James Taylor ’66 P’20 ’20, Yuleissy Ramirez ’11, and Will Speers ’75, who presented on behalf of Deval Patrick ’74. Mr. Millet, leaves behind his nieces Leah Ruth Fendrich and Susan Flynn Maristany, and nephews David Laurence Flynn, Peter Millet Flynn, and Matthew Stuart Flynn. He is also survived by seven grandnieces and nephews and two great-grandnephews. A funeral mass, open to all those who wish to attend, will take place at St. Agatha Parish, 432 Adams Street in Milton, on Tuesday, November 21 at 10:30 a.m. The burial will be private. For more information and a tribute to Mr. Millet, please visit the Milton Academy web site at In lieu of flowers, in accordance with Mr. Millet’s wishes, donations may be made to the Frank D. Millet Scholarship at Milton Academy, Alumni and Development Office, 170 Centre Street, Milton, MA 02186. The Roache-Pushard Funeral Home 210 Sherman St., Canton is assisting with arrangements.

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