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Richard Milam's Life Well Celebrated At Scoma's
By Lonce LaMon - August 19, 2009

It was an equisite San Francisco Summer day of the kind that Richard Milam would have loved. The sun was out, there was a pleasantly cool breeze coming off the Bay, and the tourists were pressing the sidewalks in throngs down at the Wharf. 

At Pier 47, last Saturday, August 15th, colleagues, vendors, co-workers, friends and family gathered at Noon at the illustrious Scoma's restaurant which pokes out onto the water, to honor the life of Richard "Dick" Milam. 

Dick Milam, who was a career claims manager in California workers' compensation claims, died at the age of 71 on July 10th 2009 of lung cancer.  He had started his career at St. Paul Insurance Company in 1965, and then went to The Hartford some years later where he became the claims manager of the United Airlines account.  From there, when United Airlines became self-insured, self-administered, he was hired by United to be their claims manager. By 1990, United Airlines changed gears again, went to a TPA, so Dick joined Wausau Insurance Company. He stayed long term again, for over a decade, and then by the 21st Century took his last position with Kaiser in Oakland.  He retired just a few years ago.

Betty Washington, who worked for Milam at Wausau, was present at the gathering. Betty started in the 1970s as an adjuster for Industrial Indemnity in Los Angeles, then in the 1980s moved to Wausau in San Francisco.  She even moved in the 90s to the Wausaw Pasadena office until her retirement in 1997. 

Patrick McGarry, an asbestos adjuster at Argonaut, was one of the professionals present who was bringing her up to date on what's gone on in the past decade.  "There's no more rehab," someone said, to which Betty gave a look.  "I hear you made some legendary rehab plans, Betty!" McGarry joked.  Patrick works out of his home and has been at Argonaut since 2003.

"Well," Betty replied in her own defense, "if you didn't they'd shoot you down!" She meant they'd shoot you down at the Board (WCAB).

Carole DeLisle, the owner of PrimeCare, made it to the event by traveling from Southern California. Carole had worked for Dick as a vendor doing Medical Case Management.  She also knew Betty Washington well and talked to her about the changes in the industry which have taken place in the last ten plus years.

Jake Jacobsmeyer, a partner in the law firm of Shaw, Jacobsmeyer, Crain, Claffey and Nix, was present escorted by his wife, Cyndy Larsen, an RN and the Vice President of Regional Sales for CorVel.  Jake had done work comp defense work for Dick through the law firm of Laughlin, Falbo, Levy & Moresi where he had previously worked.  Jake talked about good wine and enjoyed with the rest the incredible hors d'oeuvres laden with seafood that Scoma's provided.

Richard Milam's life partner, John Murphy, greeted all the guests, which included Dick's brothers, Mike and Bob.  Bob and his wife, Peggy, had traveled all the way from North Carolina in order to be present to celebrate Richard's life.  Brother Mike lives in San Francisco, so the trip to Scoma's was just a short skip. 

Long time friend, Marie, was there, who had lost her partner, Kellie, last year at around this same time.  She had brought a wooden screen that she had used for Kellie's memorial, with pictures of Dick dating from the sixties, to the seventies, eighties and on up until the present. 

Marie told about how Dick loved the city of San Francisco, and how he and John had lived on Taylor Street down the hill, and also on Polk Street.  She told of how they used to go hang out at the Buena Vista, the famous Bar at the end of the Cable Car run which is famous for its Irish Coffee. 

Prior to the fabulous banquet of seafood delights at Scoma's, Dick's ashes had been taken out on a boat off of the Wharf and buried in San Francisco Bay.  Carole DeLisle went out on the boat, and that's why she arrived a little late along with the group that put Dick in his final resting place.

So, San Francisco stood there as it always had, during Dick's lifetime, with all the Italian seafood restaurants clustering around the Wharf: Castanola's, Tarantino's, Alioto's, Nick's Lighthouse and The Crab Station--all in unison with Scoma's, one of Dick's favorite places to go. 



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