Jerry Milner, a former Glendale mayor who served on the City Council during a period of significant growth in the city, died of a heart attack Saturday. He was 81.
Although he left Glendale’s dais in 1991 after serving two terms on the City Council, he continued his public involvement on a smaller scale, his family said.
“He was always one who believed that if you believed in something and wanted to make something better, get involved and do your best,” said his son, Mark Milner.
In 1963, Jerry Milner moved his wife and two children to Glendale, where he worked as a manager at Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company. He became a youth sports coach at the YMCA and joined a parent fundraising group at Herbert Hoover High School.
He got his first taste of city politics when he was selected in the 1970s to serve on the Civil Service Commission. Then in the 1980s, he served on an ad-hoc committee studying redevelopment. That prompted him to run and win a seat on the City Council in 1983. He served as mayor twice, in 1985 and 1989.
During his time on the council, Glendale saw tremendous growth.
“Glendale grew quite a bit in a very short period of time, with new apartments and condominiums,” said Larry Zarian, who was elected to the City Council the same year as Milner. “He, along with the City Council, were very interested in making sure we didn’t stay behind Burbank and Pasadena.”
As new office buildings sprung up, the population boomed, and Glendale got its first hotel, the Red Lion, which later became a Hilton at 100 W. Glenoaks Blvd. Although Glendale’s growth was on the fast track, Milner was slow and deliberate when making decisions. However, once he made up his mind, there was no changing it, Zarian said.
In 1994, Jerry Milner moved to Dana Point in South Orange County, and in 1997 he married his second wife, Barbara. His first wife, Patsy, died in 1986 after his first term as mayor. While in Dana Point, he served as the president of his homeowner’s association for four terms, his son said.
In addition to loving public service, he also had a hankering for travel. He traveled the U.S. and the world, visiting every continent, Mark Milner said.
“He spent Thanksgiving one year in Timbuktu,” Mark Milner said. “Name a country and I can probably tell you he’s been there.”
Jerry Milner’s latest jaunt was a trip to Denver. He rented a convertible and drove through the Rocky Mountains, staying the night with college fraternity brothers. While on the trip, an infection caused a heart attack, his family said.
Jerry Milner is survived by his wife, Barbara Milner, 75; son Mark Milner, 51; daughter-in-law Valerie Milner, 51; daughter Elizabeth Schreiber, 49; son-in-law Michael Schreiber, 47; and grandchildren Amanda, 20, and Jarrett, 18.
Plans for a service had not yet been finalized as of Wednesday. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be made to the Community Foundation of the Verdugos.