Milburn E. Calhoun, American book publisher, died he was 72.
(January 15, 1930 – January 7, 2012)
Calhoun was born in West Monroe in Ouachita Parish in northeastern Louisiana to Darrell L. Calhoun and the former Mary Crowell. In 1947, he graduated from Ouachita Parish High School in Monroe. In 1949, he completed the curriculum at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, then known as “Northeast Junior College”. In 1951, he completed his pre-medical education at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. In 1955, he graduated from medical school at the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans. He interned at New Orleans Charity Hospital. Thereafter, for nine years, he maintained a medical practice in Buras in Plaquemines Parish east of New Orleans. Calhoun served for two years in the United States Air Force, having attained the rank of major. He then practiced from 1965 until his retirement in 1997 at the Nicholson, Baehr, Calhoun Family Clinic in Marrero, a census designated place in Jefferson Parish. He was chief of staff at West Jefferson Hospital in New Orleans.
Calhoun founded Bayou Books, an out-of-print dealership specializing
in Louisiana and southern subjects. In 1961, he opened a bookstore under
that same name in Gretna. In March 1970, he and family members acquired Pelican Publishing Company
and relocated the company to Gretna, where they operated the enterprise
for more than forty years, having peaked with some 2,500 titles in
print. The sales doubled each year during the first decade of Calhoun’s
leadership. Pelican books are sold in every state and in nearly all
English-speaking countries worldwide. One of its most successful books
was See You at the Top, Zig Ziglar‘s
motivational bestseller, still in print but initially rejected by some
thirty other publishers. Calhoun also developed the classic “Cajun Night
Before Christmas series, which today includes twenty-nine titles.
Pelican publishes cookbooks, architecture titles, a series on editorial cartoons, and works on the American Civil War, the American South, and African American
topics. Calhoun said that he operated the company on the principle of
publishing otherwise rejected books for which there is nevertheless a
willing market for such titles. The sales doubled each year during the
first decade of Calhoun’s leadership. Today, Pelican is the largest
independent trade book publisher in the South.
Calhoun was a longtime member and deacon of Oak Park Baptist Church in the Algiers
section of New Orleans. In 1998, he established the Mary and Darrell
Calhoun Recreational Center at the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home
orphanage in Monroe. In 1999, he endowed the million-dollar Mary E. and
Darrell L. Calhoun Chair in Pharmacology at the University of Louisiana
at Monroe, an institution with a pharmacy college. In 2009, he and his
wife, the former Nancy Harris, established the Milburn and Nancy Calhoun
Foundation to support religious and educational activities.
Following a lengthy illness, Calhoun died at West Jefferson Hospital.
Services were held on January 9, 2012, at Oak Park Baptist Church and then on January 12, at a funeral home in his native West Monroe. He is interred at Sibley Cemetery in Choudrant in Lincoln Parish west of West Monroe.
In addition to his wife, Calhoun was survived by his daughter,
Kathleen Calhoun Nettleton and her husband, Carl Joseph Nettleton, of
New Orleans, a son, David Harris Calhoun and his wife, Sharon Crosland
Calhoun of Spokane, Washington, a sister Gloria Calhoun Lee of Calhoun, Louisiana, a brother James L. Calhoun of Baton Rouge, and four granddaughters from Spokane.
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