LEGACY | July 2023

Edwina Milner, honorary trustee of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, passed away on May 16, 2023. She was pre-deceased by her husband, Charles Milner who died in March 2022. Edwina and her late husband Charles were very generous supporters of the Foundation and Museum of New Mexico system. They were the lead donors for Milner Plaza on Museum Hill and longtime benefactors of the Museum of International Folk Art and New Mexico Museum of Art. Governor Bill Richardson appointed Edwina to serve as president of the Museum of New Mexico board of regents. In addition, she received both the Governor's and Mayor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts. We are forever grateful to Edwina and Charles for their lifelong devotion to the arts and extend our heartfelt condolences to the Milner family. Edwina was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to a father who was a member of the Chickasaw Nation and a mother of Irish descent. She grew up during the Great Depression and attended 24 different schools in New Mexico and Texas. She discovered her artistic talent at an early age and pursued her dream of becoming an artist at the University of Texas at Austin, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with honors. She married Charles in 1954 and they moved to Houston, where they lived for 40 years.As a prolific painter, educator, and fashion designer, Edwina had several one-artist shows and received awards for her work. She also fought for the recognition and representation of women in the arts, serving as a board member of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. and founding the New Mexico State Committee of the same organization. She organized state-wide juried art shows for women artists and fashion designers and mentored many young artists.Edwina also served on the boards of several museums and cultural institutions in New Mexico, including the Native American Preparatory School, the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and the New Mexico School for the Arts. She was appointed by Governor Richardson as president of the Museum of New Mexico board of regents, overseeing New Mexico museums and historical monuments. She received both the Governor's and Mayor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts and the Governor's Award for Women in all areas of work in New Mexico.Charles was born in Houston, Texas to a prominent family in the oil and gas industry. He graduated from Rice University with a degree in engineering and joined his family's business, Milner Oil Company. He was a successful entrepreneur and innovator who expanded the company's operations across Texas and beyond. He was also a civic leader who served on various boards and committees related to energy, education, health care, and philanthropy.Charles was a lover of history, literature, music, and nature. He enjoyed traveling with Edwina to explore different cultures and landscapes around the world. He was an avid reader who collected rare books and manuscripts. He was a supporter of classical music and opera who attended many concerts and performances. He was a conservationist who cared about preserving the environment and wildlife.Charles joined Edwina in her passion for art and became a major benefactor of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation. Together, they were the lead donors for Milner Plaza on Museum Hill, a 32-acre renovation project that created a beautiful public space for four world-class museums: the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the Museum of International Folk Art, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art.Edwina and Charles Milner were a remarkable couple who enriched our lives with their artistry, generosity, vision, and leadership. They left behind a legacy that will inspire generations to come. We are grateful for their friendship, their service, and their love. We will miss them dearly.May they rest in peace.

If you’d like to learn about creating a charitable gift annuity like the Milner’s did that will offer you steady income during your lifetime as well as provide a charitable donation to the Foundation upon your passing, please contact Laura Sullivan at laura@museumfoundation.org.