Milton Phillips DeVane, devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend, died peacefully at his home early Saturday morning, surrounded by his family, following a year-long battle with cancer.
Milton was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on June 20, 1929. He was the middle child of Mabel Phillips DeVane and William Clyde DeVane. The family moved briefly to Ithaca, New York, where Milton’s father was the Chair of the English Department at Cornell, before returning to Yale to serve as the Dean. Milton and his two sisters, Margaret and Elizabeth, attended the Foote School where Milton met many of his lifelong friends. Milton attended the Phillips Exeter Academy and was thrilled in recent years when his oldest grandson did as well.
Milton then returned to New Haven, graduating from Yale College in 1950. He then spent a year studying at Cambridge and three years as an officer in the Navy during the Korean conflict before returning to attend Yale Law School where he met more lifelong friends. While he was at law school, one of his good friends, James English, introduced Milton to Margaret Cox, who finally agreed to marry him and was his loving wife of 55 years. Mr. English married Margaret’s twin Isabelle and the friends became in-laws. It made for a happy extended family.
Following a clerkship, Milton joined the law firm of Tyler, Cooper, Grant, Bowerman & Keefe, and rose rapidly to partner. He remained at that firm for his entire career. He took great satisfaction in practicing law: in a job done well (perfectly), yet efficiently and sensibly; in helping people find their own way to right decisions; and in the friendships formed with his partners, clients and other members of the New Haven community. A quiet, thoughtful man, he cared deeply and passionately about civil justice and social fairness, pursuing these goals quietly but with determination in every community of which he was a part.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret DeVane of Hamden, Conn., his sister Margaret Logue of West Tisbury, his sister Elizabeth Edminster of Washington, D.C.; his three children: Nell DeVane of Cheshire, Conn., Katherine DeVane of West Tisbury, and Will DeVane of Dallas, Texas, and five grandchildren. He is also survived by many good friends from every stage of his life, who are a reflection of what a thoughtful, rich, and wonderful life he lived.
The memorial service will be on Saturday, April 14, at 1 pm at Trinity Church on the Green in New Haven. Trinity Church is located on the corner of Temple and Chapel. Directions may be found on their website trinitynewhaven.org.
The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to New Haven Legal Assistance or the Island Autism Group. New Haven Legal Assistance Association, Inc., 426 State Street, New Haven, CT 06510 NHLegal.org; Island Autism Group, Inc., P.O. Box 2786, Edgartown, MA 02539 IslandAutismGroupInc.com. Arrangements are with the Hawley Lincoln Memorial, 493 Whitney Ave., New Haven, Tel. 203-787-4101.