The Pemarro family would like to announce the passing of our dearest friend and colleague, Dr. John Milner. Dr. Milner was the Medical Director at Pemarro for seven years and served many years on the board. His years of treatment experience, vision for a continuum of care, and passion for patients helped many clients seeking recovery.
Dr. Milner was a grounding and pivotal figure at Pemarro. A true pioneer in addiction medicine, he led the way for many other innovative and passionate practitioners. Dr. Milner was known for combining a benevolent and warm bedside manner with progressive and patient-centered care. The team and clients at Pemarro looked forward to his visits three times a week. He practiced medicine in a way few do now – he took his time, met with patients for as long as they needed, offered a human component to care, and was always available when someone was in need. He frequently had candy for the detoxing residents and hid it in various desks to make sure he never ran out. (If you’re lucky you can still stumble across pieces to this day hidden in various cabinets and drawers.) Colleagues reminded us that when prolific thinkers in the field of addiction went to write their books, they consulted Dr. Milner.
Dr. Milner was a veteran who served as a Medical Service Corp Officer at Balboa Naval Hospital. He entered private practice in La Jolla in 1961. In 1975, he opened the first addiction treatment program in a general hospital (Sharp Cabrillo) in San Diego County, where he served as Medical Director. He opened a long-term care unit for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders at Rancho L’Abri in 1982. He served as Medical Director there for nearly 30 years. He took an active role in the development of The California Society of Addiction Medicine and was a diplomat of The American Board of Addiction Medicine.
He will forever be loved and remembered by everyone who had the honor to meet him and he helped countless patients to thrive and create meaningful lives in recovery. Serving clients in his honor is a privilege. We will never be able to fill his shoes, but we will continue his legacy.