Photography

       


Stephen H. Millard, Jr.

March 25, 2018

Stephen Hopkins Millard, Jr. died peacefully on March 25, 2018. He leaves his sister, Kathryn

M. Ingle, of Hawaii.

 

Steve was born on May 17, 1935, in Stamford, Connecticut. That same year, he and his parents,

Stephen Hopkins and Mary Kathryn (Dick) Millard, moved to Columbus, Ohio, where they lived

until Steve was 12. The family then moved east to Manchester, Connecticut, and five years later

to Albany, New York.

 

Steve graduated from high school at The Christian Brothers Academy in Albany in 1953 and

enrolled at the University of Vermont. He earned a B.A. degree in 1957 and soon entered the

U.S. Air Force, becoming an officer and serving on active duty in Japan and Hawaii. He was

honorably discharged in 1960 and took a job as a radar fighter instructor with the Hawaii Air

National Guard.

 

After a year, Steve moved to Washington, D.C., where he took a job with the Readers Digest and stayed for nine years. His first three years, he was in charge of Newstand Sales in Texas and

Louisiana. The company then brought him to its home office in Chappaqua, New York, where

Steve was promoted to assistant manager for Readers Digest books. He learned all he could

about successful direct marketing while at the Digest, and applied and refined that knowledge

during the rest of his professional life.

 

Then came the most significant event of Steve’s life. He was hired by the founder of the

fledgling Brookstone Company in Peterborough in February, 1972, becoming just its twelfth

employee and soon handling all its marketing and customer service. The little company that

occupied the fourth floor of what had been the American Guernsey Cattle Club, with annual

sales of just $200,000, became a household name, with sales skyrocketing past $20,000,000

during Steve’s five years there. By then Brookstone was considered a leader in the growing field

of catalog marketing, and Steve was being asked to speak nationally on how the company had

achieved its success.

 

By 1977 Steve’s reputation in direct marketing enabled him to establish his own catalog

consulting and mailing list brokerage firm called The Millard Group. Under Steve’s leadership,

that firm also grew quickly, eventually reaching 225 local employees, generating $6,000,000 in

annual billings, and becoming the third largest list brokerage firm in the country.

As a result of his success, Steve gave over 100 direct marketing speeches during his career. He

spoke overseas at the European Direct Seminar in Montreux, Switzerland, and at four national

meetings of the Canadian Direct Marketing Association.

 

Steve’s life on the road wasn’t all for work, though. His passions were wild bird hunting and fly

fishing, and with a group of close friends he traveled the world many times on these outdoor

adventures – in Labrador, Iceland, Denmark, Scotland, Spain, Argentina and Alaska, to name

just a few of Steve’s favorite destinations.

 

At the peak of his career, Steve was chosen by Direct magazine for its Hall of Fame and hailed

as one of the 25 pioneers who created the modern mail order catalog industry. Steve always

considered those years at the helm of The Millard Group as the happiest period of his life. At

age 57, however, Steve had mailed enough catalogs and managed enough mailing lists for a

lifetime, and he sold the business to his key employee, Ben Perez, who has continued the firm’s

success.

 

Still, Steve’s life was not all one success after another. Throughout his working life he suffered

greatly from bi-polar disease, and in 2011 he wrote a revealing memoir called A Bi-Polar Life,

about his struggles with the illness. Because of widespread interest in the book, Steve was

invited to be the keynote speaker at the Pennsylvania Mental Health Convention in Harrisburg,

Pennsylvania. In addition, Bi-Polar Magazine featured him with a front cover picture and an

article that discussed his successes despite his battles with depression. One of Steve’s greatest

hopes was that his story might help others also succeed in the face of such a devastating illness.

Though his life took Steve to many places and afforded him a world of exciting experiences,

Steve considered Peterborough his home. His greatest successes were achieved there, and he

will now rest there.

 

Burial will be private; however, a gathering will be arranged to honor Steve’s memory and to

allow his many friends and colleagues to share stories about him.

 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter (“MATS”), PO Box 3053, Peterborough, NH 03458, which Steve personally supported, or to any local non-profit organization of one’s choice.

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