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Milliken memorial in August relocated to Interlochen to allow for social distancing

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

An August memorial service for former Gov. William G. Milliken has been moved to an outdoor venue in Interlochen to allow for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Milliken, Michigan's longest serving governor, died in October at age 97. His family had put off the memorial service, which was then further delayed due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, a spokesman said. 

Those expected to speak at the memorial include Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; former Milliken adviser Bill Rustem; friend Jack Lessenberry; retired Michigan State Police Capt. Arlyn Brower; and WXYZ-TV producer Chuck Stokes. 

William G. Milliken, shown here in 2009, died in his native Traverse City at age 97.

The service, set for 2 p.m. Aug. 6, had been planned for the Milliken Auditorium at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City. 

Organizers will now hold the event at Kresge Auditorium at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, and are asking those planning to attend to register in advance in an effort to monitor capacity considerations. 

Planners said the larger, open-air venue at Interlochen will permit physical distancing but also is a nod to Milliken's support for the arts. He was a member of the Interlochen Board of Trustees from 1983-97.

Attendees are asked to arrive early for health and security screenings and to wear a face covering. 

Milliken, a moderate Republican, served as governor for 14 years from 1969 to 1983. His agenda included conservation and environmental priorities, as well as race relations and urban issues.