Henry Allan Mileham

Deceased: February 11, 2017

Service Information:

Visitation: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 4pm until 9pm
Funeral Mass: Thursday, 10am St Alphonsus Catholic Church, Wellington & Southport
Interment: Mt. Olive Cemetery


The Story of Henry Allan Mileham is below.
His visitation will be held Wednesday, February 15, 2017 from 4pm until 9pm.
The funeral mass will be on Thursday at 10am at St Alphonsus Catholic Church, Wellington & Southport.
Burial will be at Mt. Olive Cemetery.


A Story of
February 4, 1930 — February 11, 2017

"Those who knew him could never forget him."

After many twists of fate, proofs of endurance, and fascinating adventures, Henry Allan Mileham made a peaceful passage to his next life in the early hours of February 11, 2017. His zest for living and droll wit were with him to the end.

Born to an American father (Russell James) and Canadian mother (Mary Ann Taylor) in Cueto, Oriente, Cuba on February 4, 1930, he was the seventh of nine children (George Thompson, Peggy Thompson, Gladys May, Ethel May, Jennie Ellen, Russell James, [Henry], Alberto Pedro and Lourdes Melba) and, from his first day, Henry’s life promised to be colorful. His earliest years were spent in the Cuban countryside where his father was contracted as a blacksmith by United Fruit Company. Theirs was an exacting life, a vibrant life lived close to the bone. Henry lost his mother as an infant and was no stranger to hardship. Through many changes and challenges, he succeeded by dint of his resourcefulness, hard work, and dry sense of humor. Perhaps it was these early afflictions that cultivated Henry’s deep compassion; his life tells the story of the power of love.

Both good luck and bad were formative in Henry’s life. After his sister, Jennie Mileham, won the lottery in Havana, she used her winnings to buy a small cafe with an apartment in the back. She and sister Ethel then sent for their teenage brother to join them, wanting for him a better life. Henry moved in and helped with the cafe for a few years before, one by one, the family emigrated to the United States. It was May 29, 1948 when Henry and his niece, Janet, boarded a Chicago & Southern Airlines flight to New Orleans. They made their way to Chicago which became Henry’s home where English became his second language. A new life had begun.

The change in climate and culture required him to adapt quickly. An American citizen by birth, Henry served a stint in the Army, followed by a variety of jobs in the cosmetic industry. He worked for Max Factor and then Helene Curtis, where through his industry, brains, and will, he advanced steadily, ultimately becoming the manager of the shipping department before retiring in 1995.

Henry married Gloria Mileham (née Leal) on August 18, 1972, whence they began a long and happy life together. Gloria was his partner, his booster and his tireless chef; he was her “Principito,” (her Little Prince). Together they enjoyed travel, family and the small, profound pleasures of daily life. She survives him in the house they bought together in 1975. Over the years, as the neighborhood around them changed and gentrified, Henry remained a well-known and beloved local figure, working in the yard, ready to joke, committed to his philosophy of living and letting live.

Born in the tropics and transplanted to cold weather, Henry nourished—and was nourished by—plants and flowers. Life sprang from his green thumb. The lush blooms and vegetation in his back yard amazed guests and defied northern climes. With a cutting from here and a seed from there, Henry cultivated a personal jungle where vines crawl and blossom in every corner. His verdant patio became a festive meeting place where many memories were made. During summer months, it filled with family and friends whom he greeted with unfailing love and acceptance.

Befitting his lively nature, music was a vital part of Henry’s life. His large collection of Latin music was the soundtrack of his days. He was an exceptional dancer, quick to his feet when the salsa began to play. No matter the occasion, visits to Henry and Gloria’s house were festive and filled to capacity. Parties there lasted until morning, and around their table the serious issues of life were discussed and supplanted by laughter. Everyone was welcome and delicious food and drink were a part of every gathering. Henry was a lover not a fighter, able to forgive, thus he brought people together.

Henry had a rare gift for putting people at ease and the warmth of his home drew many. No matter who or when, wherever Henry saw need, he addressed it with kindness and generosity. He shared his soup, his rum, his love. His household was established as accepting and inclusive. He played an important role as a leader and beloved member of a family devoted to him. His loyal friends were drawn from a diverse cross-section of society and as his illness progressed, he never went a day without visitors. During hospital stays, nurses had to find chairs to accommodate his unusually large crowds of boisterous well wishers.

Henry was creative and resourceful. He enjoyed shopping for unique items and was as delighted by flea market curiosities as by fine crystal and Limoges porcelain. Whether in cathedrals or garage sales, with kings or with paupers, he saw beauty all around. He had a knack for artistically repurposing little things that others overlooked. Things that were historic or exotic were of particular interest. He, himself, was one of a kind and he relished the unusual, the cast-off, the neglected. Even his aesthetic was an extension of his humanitarian instinct.

Henry was the glue that held many people together. He will be missed and long remembered. In the end it was his heart that failed—that very heart that was so big, so full, and gave so much to so many. He will not be replaced, but his spirit and benevolence will live on in the hearts of so many who loved him.

Henry is survived by Gloria, his wife of 45 years; two brothers, Russell and Alberto; his sister Lourdes and the extended Mileham and Leal families.

February 15, 2017

Un Cuento de
4 febrero 1930 — 11 febrero 2017

“Los que lo conocieron nunca lo podrán olvidar.”

Después de muchos giros del destino, pruebas de resistencia, y fascinantes aventuras, Henry Allan Mileham hizo un pasaje tranquilo para su próxima vida en las primeras horas del 11 de febrero de 2017. Su entusiasmo por la vida y risible ingenio estuvieron con él hasta el final.

Nacido de padre estadounidense (Russell James) y madre canadiense (Mary Ann Taylor) en Cueto, Oriente, Cuba el 4 de febrero de 1930, era el séptimo de nueve hermanos—George, Peggy, Gladys May, Ethel May, Jennie Ellen, Russell James, [Henry], Alberto Pedro y Lourdes Melva—y desde el primer día su vida prometía ser colorida. Sus primeros años los pasó en los campos de Cuba, donde su padre negociaba como herrero de la United Fruit Company. La suya fue una vida exigente, una vida vibrante vivida cerca del hueso. Henry perdió a su madre en su infancia y no fue ajeno a las dificultades. A través de muchos cambios y desafíos logró triunfar, a fuerza de su ingenio, su trabajo fuerte y su seco sentido del humor. Tal vez fueron estas primeras aflicciones las que cultivaron su profunda compasión; la historia de su vida sirve como tributo y prueba a la fuerza del amor.

Tanto la buena igual que mala suerte fueron formativas en la vida de Henry. Después que su hermana, Jennie, ganó la lotería en La Habana, ella usó sus ganancias para comprar un pequeño café con un apartamento en la parte posterior. Deseando una vida mejor para su adolescente hermano, Jennie y otra hermana, Ethel, se lo llevaron para La Habana. Henry ayudó con los quehaceres del café durante algunos años hasta que, uno por uno, la familia emigró a los Estados Unidos. Era el 29 de mayo de 1948, cuando Henry y su sobrina, Janet, abordaron un vuelo de la vía aérea Chicago & Southern rumbo a Nueva Orleans. Procedieron a Chicago donde establecieron su hogar y el Inglés se convirtió en su segunda lengua. Una nueva vida había comenzado.

El cambio de clima y la cultura lo obligó a adaptarse rápidamente. Ciudadano estadounidense por nacimiento, Henry sirvió una restricción en el ejército militar seguido por una variedad de puestos de trabajo en la industria cosmética. Trabajó para Max Factor y luego Helene Curtis, donde a través de su destreza, industria, y determinación, avanzó constantemente hasta finalmente lograr, convertirse en gerente del departamento de envíos antes de retirarse en 1995.

Henry se casó con Gloria Mileham (née Leal) el 18 de agosto, 1972 y juntos comenzaron una vida larga y feliz. Gloria fue su compañera, su refuerzo y su incansable cocinera; él era su "Principito". Juntos disfrutaron sus extensas familias, viajaron y compartieron los pequeños y profundos placeres de la vida diaria. Gloria lo sobrevive en la casa que compraron juntos en 1975. A través de los años, según el vecindario su alrededor cambiaba y remozaba, Henry siguió siendo una figura local muy conocido y apreciado. Siempre comprometido a su filosofía de vivir y dejar vivir; listo para bromear y en todo momento dispuesto a sembrar en su jardín.

A pesar del haber nacido en los trópicos y trasplantado a un clima frígido, Henry nutría—y era nutrido por—sus plantas y flores. Con mucho éxito, la vida surgía de sus manos a sus plantas. Las exuberantes flores y vegetación en su patio trasero sorprendían a todo invitado y desafiaban el clima norteño. Con un corte por aquí y una semillita por allá, Henry cultivó su propia jungla personal donde se arrastran los viñedos y se encuentran flores en cada esquina. Su patio frondoso se convirtió en un lugar de encuentro festivo donde se cementaron muchos recuerdos. Durante los meses de verano, se llenaba de familiares y amigos quienes siempre fueron recibidos con gran amor y acogimiento.

Correspondiente con su carácter alegre, la música era una parte vital de la vida de Henry. Su gran colección de música latina fue la pista sonora de sus días. Era un bailarín excepcional, rápidamente parado en cuando la salsa comenzaba a tocar. No importa la ocasión, las visitas a casa de Henry y Gloria eran festivas y llenas hasta los topes. Alrededor de su mesa los problemas graves de la vida se discutían, eran suplantados por la risa y frecuentemente terminados con la salida del sol. Todos eramos bienvenidos; la comida deliciosa y la bebida abundante. Su naturaleza era la de un ser afable, no combatiente; dispuesto a perdonar y acolar—no a desunir. Tenía un raro don para asegurar que todos se encontraran a gusto y la calidez de su hogar atrajo a muchos. No importa quién ni cuándo, siempre se dirigía a todos quienes llegaran con amabilidad y generosidad. Compartía su sopa, su ron, su amor—un hogar acogedor e inclusivo. Cumplió un papel importante como mandamás y querido miembro de una extensiva familia dedicada a él. Sus amigos leales fueron extraídos de una amplia muestra de la sociedad y según su enfermedad progresaba, nunca vio un día sin visitantes. Durante estancias en el hospital, las enfermeras se mantuvieron ocupadas buscando sillas para acomodar sus tantos ruidosos simpatizantes.

Henry fue creativo e ingenioso. Disfrutó de la compra de artículos únicos y se encantaba igualmente con curiosidades del “flea market” que las de cristal fino o porcelana de Limoges. Ya fuese en las catedrales o ventas de garaje, con reyes o con pobres, vio la belleza en todos los rincones. Tenía una habilidad especial para remodelar artísticamente pequeñeces que otros pasaban por alto con particular interés en artículos históricos o exóticos.

Al fin su corazón le falló—ese mismo corazón tan grande, tan lleno, el que le dio cariño a tantos. No lo podremos substituir, pero su espíritu y bondad vivirán en los corazones de aquellos que tanto lo amaron—nosotros.

Henry es sobrevivido por Gloria, su esposa por 45 años; dos hermanos, Russell y Alberto; una hermana, Lourdes y numerosos miembros de las familias Mileham y Leal quienes le agradecemos las muchas atenciones y cariño que le brindaron a Henry a través de los años.

February 15, 2017

What a beautiful obituary! Henry certainly led a beautiful and interesting life. I'm sure he will be greatly missed.

Rose Lavelle

February 16, 2017

Will remain in our hearts forever all your kindness, support and advice q both Henry and Gloria, gave us and my family; an angel more q take care of us .... Henry soon ......

Emilia Ponce

It was with great sadness that we learned of Henry's passing. Please accept our heartfelt condolences and we hope that in a small way they help through these trying times. Rest in peace Henry.

Rogelio Alfonso