- About Us
- About Us
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
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
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.