Carol Ann Porterfield-Milowski


Beltrami County Commissioner, Bemidji State University Professor and beloved mother, and wife died peacefully in her sleep at age 77 on Friday, June 18th, 2021, in White Bear Lake, MN. Carol was born on January 14th, 1944, in Troy, Ohio, to William David and Doris Evelyn Porterfield (both deceased) and was the sibling to Linda Eliason (Kevin, both deceased), Kate Hennessy (Pat), Jean Oberg (Dave), Sunni McGann (Mac, Sunni deceased), Tom, Dave (Shirley), and Jim (Denise). In 1962, she graduated Valedictorian from Torrance High School in Torrance, CA. In high school, Carol was Student Council President, a Tartar Ladies (honor group) member, and was awarded a college scholarship to UCLA. Moving with her parents to Minneapolis, MN, she enrolled in the University of Minnesota (U of M) after high school. In 1964 while attending U of M, she met and married a young professor, Dr. Raymond Stephen Milowski, and moved to Bemidji, Minnesota, where Raymond pursued a teaching career at Bemidji State University (BSU). Carol earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Bemidji State University in 1969, a master’s degree from BSU in the 1970s, and a Ph.D. in American Literature from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1996. Carol worked at the Minnesota Department of Corrections as a Contract Agent and later became an Associate Professor of English at Bemidji State University, specializing in English, Technical Writing, and Women’s Studies for 21 years retiring in 2007. Always holding an interest in politics, Carol was active in the League of Women Voters, becoming President of the organization in 1975, and in 1979 she hit the campaign trail, becoming elected the first woman Beltrami District 5 County Commissioner. Carol was also very active in the Episcopal Church throughout her life, leading many committees, study groups and becoming a Lay Preacher. Carol was a natural leader throughout her life and highly respected in all the roles she held while also being friendly and down to earth. Carol had a love of nature, enjoying gardening with a particular affinity for bird watching. She also enjoyed cooking and was an immense reader enjoying all kinds of books, especially science fiction. She had a large friend group, including many people from BSU, St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, and her infamous friend group, “The Committee.” Carol’s brilliant mind and thirst for knowledge made her curious and a great debater. Family was essential to Carol, her immediate family and grandchildren, and her extended family across the country. In her later years, she loved keeping up with everyone’s life via her Facebook account, where she could look at pictures. Her three children survive her; Stephanie Charlene Miller (Thomas), Daniel Telesfor (Meredith), and Raymond Alexander; and her five grandchildren Lydia, Aubrey, Max, Elsa, and Veronika. Carol had a good life and will be greatly missed and loved always. May she rest in peace. A memorial service will be held at St. John’s in the Wilderness Episcopal Church in White Bear Lake, MN on July 29th at 11 am. Dr. Carol Ann Porterfield-Milowski will be laid to rest with Dr. Raymond Stephen Milowski at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, a place of great beauty, honor, and peace.

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