James Milton
General Business

Longtime NJBIA Trustee James W. Milton Remembered for His Insight & Resiliency

Former New Jersey Business & Industry Association Chairman James W. Milton passed away on May 8 in North Palm Beach, Florida, at the age of 84. Milton became an NJBIA trustee in 1985 and served until 2012. He was chairman from 1995 to 1997 and trustee emeritus from 2012 to 2022.

According to NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka, “Jim was an accomplished businessman, proud family man, and was very engaged in his community. As an NJBIA Trustee, Jim always offered keen insights and sage advice to help advance our strategic plan and build our economy in New Jersey. I am thankful for his professional and personal guidance during our years together.”

Milton was president of Milton Can Company, which operated two manufacturing facilities in Elizabeth and one in Peabody, Massachusetts. At its peak, the company, which was founded in 1927 by Milton’s grandfather, employed 500 people. It was a regional general packaging business serving the Northeastern United States with a client base that included Benjamin Moore and ExxonMobil, in addition to other paint, oil and sealant companies.

Milton was born in Brooklyn in 1939 and was the third generation to join the family business, which moved to Elizabeth in 1964. He became company president in 1980. In 1996, the company became part of Brockway Standard, with Milton remaining president of the Milton Can Company division and executive vice president of Brockway Standard.

Additionally, Milton was a chairman (1995-1997) and trustee of New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company and served on the Millburn Township Committee and Planning Board. He was also director of the Can Manufacturers Institute.

Jimmy Milton, one of James Milton’s four sons, described his father as resilient, consistent, dedicated and smart. “He was an engineer [graduating from Notre Dame University], so he was very technical and knew all sides of the business. He also had a good work ethic and treated people fairly,” he said.

Dan Milton, another son, described his father as someone who was warm and supportive, who led by example.

Both sons stressed that if there was one standout virtue that exemplified their father, it was the way he overcame adversity, especially his battle with cancer. At age 46, Milton had a tracheotomy due to cancer and his voice box was removed. Just five years ago, he battled lung cancer. He survived both episodes with both sons saying, “His resilience and perseverance [through his battles with cancer] is what people will remember him by.”

Milton did not die of cancer, his sons said.

In addition to his sons Jimmy and Dan, he is survived by his two other children, Dennis and Sean, as well as nine grandchildren. Milton was predeceased by his wife, Mary Jane, who died in 2013. The couple had been married for more than 47 years.

For information on funeral services, please visit https://jacobhollefuneralhome.com/tribute/details/10622/James-Milton/obituary.html#content-start

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