The Shawnee community is mourning the loss of a man known for his giving spirit and love for helping others and the community.

The Shawnee community is mourning the loss of a man known for his giving spirit and love for helping others and the community.

Paul M. Milburn, 85, died Friday at a local hospital.

His heart for giving — of his time, attention and resources — is among the first things people recall about him.

“Paul has been heavily involved in community affairs since I can remember,” Shawnee Mayor Richard Finley said. “We will miss his energy and his devotion to the betterment of Shawnee and many other organizations.”

Finley said Milburn could be depended upon when the cause was just and the need was great.

City Manager Justin Erickson said Milburn’s commitment to community and his generosity with his time and resources will leave a lasting legacy in Shawnee.

“I think foremost about his commitment to education and I also especially appreciate his support of the Shawnee Police Foundation, which he helped establish in 2007,” Erickson said. “I will remember Mr. Milburn as someone that was kind and went out of his way to make people feel welcomed.”

Erickson extended his deepest condolences to Milburn's wife Ann and their family.

“Paul Milburn was my sponsor to membership in the Lion's Club,” Sen. Ron Sharp said. “He was dedicated to community service and he could not relate to anyone that did not take pride in their community.

He said Milburn not only was a worker, but he also backed his efforts with his financial contributions.

“He was my friend,” Sharp said.

State Rep. Dell Kerbs said Milburn was a true gentleman.

“He loved children and was very supporting of programs that enriched their lives,” Kerbs said. “He will be missed.”

State Rep. Josh Cockroft, via Facebook and Twitter, said, “Heard the sad news ... that Paul Milburn, a prominent figure in Pott. County passed away. He will be missed in many regards. Please join me in praying for his family.”

OBU's Senior Vice President for Advancement and University Relations Dr. Will Smallwood said, “Words fail to express our sadness over the loss of Dr. Paul Milburn. Over the past few years, we had the privilege of watching Dr. Milburn, and his wife Ann, develop a passion for the mission of Oklahoma Baptist University.”

Smallwood said they embraced the vision and encouraged OBU students, faculty, staff, and alumni through their generous friendship and financial support.

“They were moved to establish the Anne and Paul Milburn Student Success Center which impacts every student on campus by helping them reach their potential in every class and graduate from OBU,” he said.

Moved by the events of our world and troubled by racial relations in our nation, they also established a scholarship for African American students, he said.

“Milburn was a good friend to many of us personally and to all of OBU,” Smallwood said, “and we are proud to have the Milburn name associated with Bison Hill."

Pottawatomie County Museum Director Ken Landrey has known Milburn for many years.

“We go way back,” Landrey said. “He was my mentor in school.”

Landrey said he remembers when he was a senior in high school, and his teacher, Milburn, prepped him for a student competition.

“I was going to a state job interview contest and Paul would call me into his office and coach me,” he said. “I won first place that year — that was in 1969.”

Landrey said Milburn will be sorely missed by the Pottawatomie Historical Society.

“He was a driving force here,” he said. “I wish he could see the new museum completed, but at least he got to see it started.”

Milburn was a great guy, Landrey said.

“He has been so good to this community,” he said. “But he did some great things in other places, too; he made a difference all over the world — not just here.”


Paul and Ann Milburns' generosity can be easily tracked to numerous organizations all over the community.

Perhaps one of his most notable projects of late was the Pottawatomie County Museum at the Santa Fe Depot.

What began in 2008 as an idea from Milburn, an executive committee member of the Pottawatomie County Historical Society, is finally coming to fruition this year since the group raised $1,600,000 for construction of an additional museum — largely due to a $500,000 matching grant that Milburn initiated.

Countless other projects and programs were attentively and financially blessed by the Milburns — too many to name, but here are a few:

The Milburns were sponsors for OBU's 2016 Bison Stampede.

In 2014, the Oklahoma Lions Boys Ranch in Perkins received a $250,000 match donation from Milburn and his wife — helping make an expansion effort possible.

In 2012, Milburn offered to match $10,000 in donations, to help raise funds for The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club in hopes of sending even more area youth to the after-school program.

The Milburns in 2012, issued a $1 million challenge gift to Oklahoma Baptist University, encouraging others in the local community to support the institution’s $42 million capital campaign. The couple designated their gift for OBU’s Student Success Center.

In 2011, Milburn donated $1,000 to the Shawnee Police Foundation, which provides equipment to the police department that may not always be in the budget.

Children's Hospital Foundation, at its 2011 Miracle Makers Dinner, honored Paul and Ann Milburn — who established three Endowed Chairs for children, one in surgery, one in kidney disease and one in diabetes.

Milburn, a former teacher, was recognized as the founding force behind the Stop Truancy And Reduce Tardiness (S.T.A.R.T.) program after he introduced the truancy issue in front of a group of local community leaders in 2006.


A longtime Shawnee resident, Milburn received numerous awards for community service, including Shawnee Educational Foundation's Max Brattin Award for Excellence in 2015; Big Brothers Big Sisters Champion of the Year award in 2013; and Salvation Army's 2009 Don Bodard Friend of Youth Award, among many others over the years. He also was honored by Oklahoma State University for funding the Paul Milburn Tutoring Program at OSU in 2011.

Service will be 1 p.m. Wednesday at OBU’s Raley Chapel.

Burial will be at Resthaven Memorial Park with Walker Funeral Service in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers the family would prefer donations to Lions Meadows of Hope, Perkins or Pottawatomie County Historical Society, Shawnee.

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You can reach Vicky O. Misa at (405) 214-3962.