Millham shares inspiration for upcoming book

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Bonnie and Charles Millham stopped by The Press office on a recent trip to Guttenberg. Millham has written an initial draft of his upcoming book, A River Boyhood and Its Academic Aftermath. He hopes to have the completed version of his book ready for publication in late November. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

Growing up in small town Iowa can have its advantages. Tight-knit communities offer support, a sense of security and foster a sense of pride for the individuals who live there. 

Charles B. Millham, who spent his formative years in Guttenberg, has composed an initial draft of his upcoming book, A River Boyhood and Its Academic Aftermath. The publication is a story about growing up in Guttenberg along the banks of the Mississippi River, and the influence small town living had on the formation of Millham's adult life. His father, also named Charles, was the former publisher and editor of this publication.

Millham, a consultant, educator, environmental scientist and mathematician, is retired from Washington State University where he taught mathematics and computer science for 35 years. He and his wife, Bonnie, currently reside in Pullman, Wash. 

Millham has had an illustrious academic career. In the past he was an affiliate of: the American Economic Association; the Washington State Association of Research Professors, and the Mathematical Programming Society. He is still a member of the Association for Computing Machinery; the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the Institute for Operation Research and Management Science.    

In 2019, Millham was the honoree of the Distinguished Worldwide Humanitarian Award. According to Marquis Millennium Magazine he was a featured member of the magazine and was the recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Millham was a Fulbright Grant Recipient, University of Jordan, Amman in 1976-1977; a featured Listee, “Who’s Who in the West,” Marquis Who’s Who (1986-1989); co-author of Mathematics and Statistics for Economist (1969) and a recipient of the Citation Award, Royal Science School of Jordan.

Despite his long list of accomplishments Charles B. Millham, who prefers to be called "Chuck," remains a very humble man who is appreciative of his small town roots. 

Millham shared his hobbies, "I enjoy reading military and past economic disaster histories. I like to target shoot with old rifles primarily made in the 1870s and 80s."

Millham wrote an initial draft of his book for review. "My initial draft has been reviewed by several competent people in Guttenberg. The draft was written in two pieces. One is devoted to growing up in Guttenberg during WWII and what we did for entertainment. The second half is devoted to the corruption that takes place in the University setting," he explained. 

"Those who reviewed the rough draft requested photos be added to the piece, and a clearer connection needed to be made between the two subjects. The introduction needed further information, and the book's closing required some reworking to give the reader further thought," he noted. 

With the assistance from people still residing in the area, Millham has compiled a nice collection of photos for his final piece. 

Work ethic

Millham gives credit to the community that helped structure his life, "The lessons I learned from half the town – starting with the work ethic — was crucial to my formative years. Whatever issue I was having, no matter how tough life became, the work ethic and motivation I learned growing up in Guttenberg kept me going. I hope it still exists and hasn't been lost. For many of us it was the only thing we had going for us. If it is no longer a part of childhood learning – the future generation will not do as well as we did." 

Millham expressed pride in the accomplishments his childhood companions have earned. "I have so much pride in the people I went to school with and their accomplishments. St. Mary's school also had a long list of influential people who graduated from the school. When I was growing up everyone worked. Working hard was considered an important attribute. When men returned home from WWII they found a job and did the best they could do. Many built themselves up and became important businessmen," he proudly shared. 

Millham recalled, "There were influential men – G.W. Hunt – he was most looked to for advice and suggestions by young men in their twenties. He was probably one-of-a-kind, and I don't know if anyone could take his place." He went on to say, "Interestingly the pool of highly-capable, accomplished women has grown. We now have women in Guttenberg who are worth listening to on professional matters. This improvement is a change for the better. I welcome women running for offices and getting elected."

A River Boyhood And Its Academic Aftermath continues to be a work in progress. "The newly-edited composition should be ready for the printers by Thanksgiving. I will be looking at a narrow distribution, largely of interest to only people in Guttenberg and academicians who are concerned about the way their states run things," he said. "I may circulate the book to a couple of publishers for a hard-back edition. Bonnie and I are paying all the production costs." 

Millham summarized with a smile, "The book is a summary of the forces that allowed me to do what I did. All due to my background and the influences I had – after all – I got chewed out by half the town."

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