Obituary: Douglas Tucker Millar / Travel his business, hobby
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Douglas Tucker Millar traveled to most of the planet's well-known countries -- and many off the beaten path as well -- in a lifespan full of mountain-climbing and other adventures.
The happy-go-lucky, enthusiastic and talkative travel entrepreneur shared his knowledge of the world for the benefits of thousands of others, as well, through his work over more than three decades in Downtown offices.
Mr. Millar worked starting in 1980 for Commerce Travel, a local corporate travel firm founded by his father, and he had operated his own business, Traveler's Service Co., since 1988. Reflecting Mr. Millar's own travel interests, his firm has been known for arranging unusual experiences in out-of-the-way places, though its 15 or so employees also accommodate traditional corporate needs.
"He had such a wealth of knowledge," said Alan Wisniewski, the Traveler's Service vice president of client services. "He could tell you something about every part of the world, and be very specific about it, like where to eat. No matter where you would say, he had contacts in all of those places."
Mr. Millar was diagnosed with adrenal cancer a year ago but still spent much of 2012 traveling, visiting Turkey, Greece and Norway in the fall. He died in his Sewickley home on Thursday at age 54.
He was a graduate of Sewickley Academy and the University of Vermont who was led into the travel industry by his father, who hired him at Commerce Travel when straight out of college.
Mr. Millar's wife, Debbie, explained, "His father said, 'Work with me for a year, and if you can't stand it you can take off. In the meantime, you can do all the traveling for the company I don't want to do.' "
And that was the start of Mr. Millar's journeys, for both business and pleasure, to every continent but Antarctica. He climbed mountains in many of the countries he visited, in addition to many outdoor pursuits such as biking, skiing and kite boarding.
Mr. Millar's office in the Benedum-Trees Building was filled with travel books and maps, along with many rocks and crystals collected over the years and a Geochron worldclock, which shows the time and shifting light patterns in time zones.
He had a positive, salesman's personality, which meant that while New Zealand and Switzerland might be his favorite places -- with their picturesque mountains to scale and photograph -- he made friends everywhere.
"We'd meet so many unusual and interesting people," Ms. Millar recalled, "because he could walk up to them, like at an airport in Holland, and strike up a conversation, and before you knew it we were invited to dinner."
Mr. Millar passed on his enthusiasms to his two children, such as climbing the Grand Tetons with his daughter, Meredith, before she was even in high school. With son Weston, he was frequently seen flying large, radio-controlled airplanes around the fairways at Allegheny Country Club, where Mr. Millar was a member.
A longtime music lover, he served on the board of the Pittsburgh Opera for many years.
In addition to his wife and children, he is survived by one sister, Anne Millar Wiebe of Bethesda, Md. A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in Calvary Episcopal Church, 315 Shady Ave., Shadyside.
Memorial contributions may be made to Sewickley Academy, 315 Academy Ave., Sewickley, PA 15143; or Sewickley Valley YMCA, 625 Blackburn Road, Sewickley, PA 15143. Arrangements are by Copeland's Sewickley.
First Published January 8, 2013 12:08 am