Francis (Frank) Milligan
Francis (Frank) Milligan

Obituary of Francis (Frank) George Milligan



A life well lived with passion and enthusiasm, Frank Milligan passed away suddenly on his 95th birthday on October 21, 2020. Born in Toronto in 1925 to George and Frances Milligan. Frank will be deeply missed by his devoted wife, Barbara (nee Bainard), his three children, Ann (John Firstbrook), Eric (Lisa) and Ian (Teran), and twelve grandchildren, Andrew, Patrick and Ben, and Mimi, Annie, George, Claire, Emily, Sophie, Paige, Christopher and Charlie.


Frank attended Lawrence Park Collegiate and later graduated from the University of Toronto in 1948 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering after returning from his time served in WW II. In the early 1950’s Frank met his wife Barbara, through mutual friends and earlier this month celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.


From humble beginnings, Frank developed an entrepreneurial spirit that would ultimately foster his lifelong success. To support his way through university Frank ran a Christmas tree business for half a dozen years. This sparked his love for business which lasted his life time.


Frank started his professional career at the John Inglis Co. in an internship program that introduced him to custom engineered equipment and heavy industry in Canada. This early introduction nurtured a passion for business development. After several years working for others, Frank branched out and started his own business, Thermal and Hydraulic Equipment Limited in 1959. His hard work, dedication and commitment to his family and customers kept Frank determined to be successful. Sixty-one years later his business is still going strong.


Frank was an avid networker. He enjoyed people from all walks of life in any profession. He was always curious and felt he could learn from anyone. One of his favourite places to meet industry colleagues was the Engineers Club of Toronto. Frank loved this place. He served on its Board for many years and as its President for several more.


Frank, a passionate engineer, was very proud of his profession. He also loved mentoring young people and often encouraged them to consider Engineering as a career path. He truly felt he couldn’t have achieved his success without the education he received and as such endowed the “Barbara and Frank Milligan Graduate Fellowships” at UofT’s Institute of Biomaterial and Biomedical Engineering. This scholarship program was established to help post graduate students working on cutting edge research fund their education. Frank received great satisfaction meeting the many recipients of this program and learning about the complex and exciting research they were undertaking.


In 1974 Frank and Barbara purchased a cottage on Lake Joseph in Muskoka which fostered many fond family memories that continue to this day. Frank loved playing golf, and when golf didn’t love him as much he would say, “Its ok, being a Milligan allows you to take as many Mulligan’s as you need!!” Frank was an active member of the Muskoka Lakes Golf and Country Club and served for several years on its Board. Muskoka was a special place for Frank, somewhere where he could truly unwind.


Frank’s love for travel took Barbara and him around the world many times over. In recent years, cruising was their preferred option and they always had a trip booked to look forward to. Our family will cherish the many trips South at Christmas. Even when the pandemic derailed his travel plans, Frank continued searching the internet for exciting new places to go.


Frank was passionate about life and all that it was about. He was a consummate optimist with boundless energy. Whenever an obstacle stood in Frank’s way he was never deterred. He had an uncanny ability to keep going and find another way to achieve his goals.


Three years ago Frank and Barbara moved from their family home to the Dunfield Retirement Residence where they have met many wonderful people. Our family would like to thank all the staff and residents for their support during this difficult time.


We would also like to thank Dr. Graham and his team, and Dr. McIntyre and his team, both at St. Michael’s Hospital, for their incredible care over the years. We are so grateful to everyone who cared for our father.


Frank leaves an impressive and loving legacy. We will all miss this extraordinary husband, father, grandfather and friend.


Due to COVID-19 a private family service will be held.


In lieu of flowers and in honour of Frank’s association with the University of Toronto, please consider a donation to the Frank Milligan Fund for Biomechanical Engineering, or a charity of your choice.  Condolences may be forwarded through