Dr. Margaret Millard and her family lived in the historic Goold House for many years. Contributed / Windham Historical Society

Some people in town still remember Dr. Margaret Millard. She had a medical practice on White’s Bridge Road in North Windham, where she started off specializing in pediatrics back in 1969. By the time she retired in 1981, it had evolved into a more modern, holistic practice.

Dr. Margaret Millard served the Windham community for many years from her office on White’s Bridge Road. Contributed / Windham Historical Society

In an article printed in The Suburban News from 1980, she said, “I have a fairly normal medical practice, but slanted toward the medicine of the future.”

Millard’s holistic approach involved attention to the particular needs of each individual patient. She treated more than just symptoms. She expected the patient to take an active role in his or her own health. This involved a cautious attitude toward the use of drugs and a combination of techniques that ranged from conventional medicine to folk remedies, exercise, nutrition and psychology. She was a forward-thinking woman who was among the first in Maine to introduce acupuncture into her practice.

“I’ve always been about 10 years ahead of my time,” Millard said in the 1980 article. “Anything I’ve taken up, the world takes up 10 years later. For instance, I was doing yoga before there was a single yoga teacher in New England and I was at least 20 years ahead of my time in obstetrics.”

Millard was born Kathleen Margaret Harland in 1916 on the island of St. Vincent in the British West Indies. Her father was British and her mother was Canadian.

She was a medical student at Bristol University in England when she met her future husband, Ben Millard, who was working on his Ph.D. in chemistry.

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They married in 1943 and lived in Bristol and London during the Second World War. Millard took one of her final exams in the midst of an air raid and was all too familiar with the saturation bombing the British endured at the hands of the Nazis.

Her two oldest children were born in England. The other four were born in the U.S., where the family moved after her husband was offered a research post at Amherst College in Massachusetts.

Millard’s medical career began in New Hampshire, where she had a general practice. But when Ben was offered a research position with S.D. Warren in Westbrook, the family made the move to Maine. For years, the Millards resided at the historic Goold House on Windham Center Road in Windham.

After completing a residency in anesthesiology at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Millard went into pediatrics in 1969, when she was in her mid-50s, and opened her office on White’s Bridge Road. Upon her retirement from medicine in 1981, she became a full-time student at the University of Southern Maine, where she received a degree in theater in 1985.

“My mother followed Lincoln’s motto that it’s better to trust and to be disappointed occasionally than it is to distrust and be miserable all of the time,” said her son, Max. “She picked up hitchhikers when she was alone, she performed home deliveries even though she didn’t have malpractice insurance. She gave treatment to patients she knew couldn’t pay. She told them to come anyway and she would give them gas money.”

Millard was an impractical woman, but one with a never-ending zest for life.

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This could be seen by the way she valued music. Millard listened to a variety of different genres. Although she could be frugal, she couldn’t resist purchasing an original work of art if it moved her. She took an interest in astrology and wrote several magazine articles and three books on the topic of medical astrology. She loved animals, especially her pet bantams (miniature chickens) and she loved her husband and her family most of all. One of the hardest things she ever had to do was deal with the death of her daughter, Bronwyn, in 1974, from a heart condition.

She and her husband left Windham in 1988 to spend their retirement years in England. They lived in the town of Painswick in Gloucestershire, where Ben passed away in 1989. After his death, Millard, who lived to be 88, continued traveling.

At the end of her life, she spent her time in nursing facilities in Bangor and Orono. Sadly, Alzheimer’s disease robbed her of the memories of her final years. But that doesn’t mean she goes unremembered. Many people in Windham have fond memories of this remarkable woman, who was a little quirky and a little eccentric. She was indeed a rare breed and very much a woman ahead of her time.

Haley Pal is a Windham resident and an active member of the Windham Historical Society. She can be contacted at [email protected]

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