Frank R. Milio

The Towson University teacher wrote scientific articles and successfully fought to protect the school's chemistry program.

December 28, 2008|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,

Frank R. Milio, a respected Towson University chemistry teacher recalled for his patience with students, died of congestive heart failure Dec. 20 at his Reisterstown home. He was 77.

Born in Baltimore, he lived as an infant in what was later restored as the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House on East Pratt Street. He attended St. Katharine of Sienna Parochial School and was a 1948 City College graduate. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and later received a master's degree from Maryland.

In 1952, Mr. Milio began teaching at Maryland's pharmacy school, and seven years later, he opened Milio's Pharmacy at 2620 E. Monument St. He also formed Milio Brothers' Chemical Laboratories Co. to market a line of skin care products under the name Milzema.

"The Milios were a tradition," former state Sen. Julian L. Lapides said. "They assisted the families of what was then called Northeast Baltimore. They were caring people."

Mr. Milio guest-lectured in chemistry at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland before closing the pharmacy in 1966 and beginning a lengthy association with Towson University. He became an associate professor in the department of chemistry and worked with the other teachers to develop a chemistry curriculum approved by the American Chemistry Society.

"His passion for teaching led to his advocacy when the state suggested removing chemistry as a major from Towson," said his daughter, Vanessa R. Milio of Towson. "He personally wrote over 500 letters to influential individuals in business, government, academia and the local community to garner support for the program's continuation."

Mr. Milio also recognized a need to connect secondary school teachers with colleges and the chemical industry. He placed his students as academic interns at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He also worked with high school teachers to increase their knowledge of chemistry.

"He was the best mentor any student could have," said a fellow faculty member, Nordulf Debye, a professor of physical chemistry. "He was a remarkable fellow. His door was always open. His students loved him. He had plenty of patience and would stay late if they were having trouble."

Dr. Debye said his colleague had an "inquisitive nature" and often "thought outside the box."

Mr. Milio was part of a team that established a four-year forensic chemistry program. Family members said he worked with law enforcement agencies to determine needs in the field.

"Students told me he was not an easy teacher, but he was always fair," his daughter said. "He wanted them not to just learn facts, but to understand concepts. He was hands-on and loved working with them in the labs. He really enjoyed seeing that ah-ha! moment when the students finally got it."

Mr. Milio retired from Towson University in 2005.

He also taught courses in pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Maryland's School of Pharmacy. He was the author of scientific articles and was a co-author of textbooks.

He received the Towson University Professional and University Service Award and the American Chemical Society's Phoenix Award.

A Mass was offered Wednesday in Glyndon.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife of many years, the former Frances A. Welker; a son, Justin F. Milio of Parkton; a brother, Louis R. Milio of Baltimore; and a grandson.

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