May 31, 2011

Darleen Miharija/Milloy, 1963-2011

Darleen Milloy (nee Miharija) of Vancouver died on May 11, 2011, after living with multiple sclerosis for more than 20 years, and leading a fight against the condition that was an inspiration to all who knew her.

An accomplished solo piper in the 1980s before she was no longer able to continue piping, Darleen Milloy’s biggest award was winning the Silver Medal at the Northern Meeting in 1987 with a performance of “Corrienessan’s Salute.” She played for many years with the Grade 1 Simon Fraser University Pipe Band and was married to Derek Milloy of St. Paul, Minnesota, also a piper with SFU.

Darleen Miharija was taught piobaireachd primarily by James MacMillan. Even after her competing days had finished, she continued to teach and compose, and a number of her works are included in published collections.

Before her MS affected her ability to play, Darleen Miharija was regarded as one of the most talented pipers to come from the British Columbia area.

On behalf of the piping and drumming world, our condolences to her survivors and many friends at this sad time.


  1. I have struggled with this for days now. Darleen was a very close friend of mine for many years and her passing has left a huge hole inside of me. I grew up playing with Dar for many years and living in Victoria, could not put a number on the amount of times I stayed at the family house on Westlawn. We played together and we celebrated together for what seemed like forever when I was young. I can remember being there one weekend and at one point before we all headed out for the evening somewhere, I was playing in one room, Darleen in another and I believe Patricia in another room. We were all fine doing our thing and didn’t know her father, John, had come in and when we all gathered back in the kitchen after, he was complaining about all of us playing , it was so loud and all playing different tunes haha. Noise

  2. Linda and I have know Darlen for a very long time. Linda, of course, played with her in the Vancouver ladies. We became close friends though piping and competiton. Darleen loved piping more than anyone I’ve ever come across, and that’s saying a lot. But I think her love of piping was just a reflecion of the way she embraced so many things – her family, her friends, and life. She had a marvelous sense of humour and I often played on that. I remember when she won the Silver Medal at inverness. Myself, Bruce Gandy and Michael Grey were in the lobby of Eden Court Theatre with Darleen when she was approached to do a radio interview. I said to her ‘Darleen, you can’t go on the radio with your hair like that! So off she ran to the ladies room to straighten things out. When she came back she said ‘how’s my hair now Pete?” I said “Darleen – it’s radio!” We all laughed very hard. No one moreso than Darleen

  3. My sincerest condolences to Derek and all of Darleen’s family. I knew Darleen. She was a special person; a great sense of humour; an authentic one of a kind.

  4. My sincerest condolences to Derek and Darlene’s families, and to the SFU family. I didn’t know Darlene personally, but she was a common presence at BC piping competitions and knock-outs and you could always tell how much she loved the music. My thoughts are with you all today. Kirsten MacKenzie

  5. I am very saddened to hear of Darleen’s passing. It was always an inspiration to be in her company. My condolences to Derek, Darleen’s family and the many friends who shared her life. Ken Eller

  6. I didn’t know Darleen, but anyone passing on so young is just awful. My condolences to her family – I hope she’s enjoying a good tune with the Big PM in the sky 🙂

  7. This is very sad news indeed. Darleen was a lovely person who always had a big smile and such a wonderful attitude to life. She was also a very talented player who made her mark in the piping world, and in particular her Silver Medal at the Northern Meeting. Our sympathy goes to Derek and her family. Patricia & Murray Henderson.

  8. My condolences to Derek and his family, Dalreen’s family and to all of her friends. Darleen had a great smile that would light up the whole room. It is a sad day and my thoughts are with all that knew her, danced to her piping, heard her piping or just had a bleather with her.

  9. My condolences to Derek and his family, Darleen’s family, The SFU bands new and old, and to all of her friends. Darleen had a smile that would brighten up the whole room. It is a sad day for all those that knew her, danced to her piping, heard her piping , or just had the opportunity to have a chat with her. My thoughts are with all of you.

  10. I knew Darleen only well enough to say hi and have a chat, but I often recall a trip I had to BC sometime in the 1990s. Among other things, I played a recital. Anybody who was anybody in the BCPA was there, and I was quite nervous. When I was finished, I wasn’t really sure how it had gone over. It was a busy evening and I didn’t really get to hear from many listeners. But later on, Darleen came out of her way to give me her thoughts. They were heartfelt, honest and encouraging, and they literally made the trip for me. I think she knew how I was feeling, and when I think back on that trip now, what I remember most was Darleen and what her comments meant to me at the time,

  11. On behalf of Fiona and myself, we send our heartfelt condolences to Derek, to Darlene’s family the many friends who were fortunate to know her. Darlene was a ray of sunshine and loved by all who knew her. Jim and Fiona Kilpatrick

  12. I am very sad to hear about Darleen passing away. We knew each other quite well growing up. She was always a lovely person and whooped my **** in competition always. I greatly admired her as a person and a piper. My condolences to Darleen’s family.

  13. You’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer person in the piping world than Darleen. No one deserves MS, but certainly no one less than her. She was sweet and happy and super-talented. I’ll remember her well.

  14. What seems like a lifetime ago, Dar and I shared a strong bond for piping, competing against each other, and had some amazing adventures in Scotland. Her family were very kind to me and these memories are also a highpoint of my youth. I am so, so saddened to hear of this tragic lost. I chose not to think of all her suffering, but to focus on all she brought to my life. Rest in peace Dar, you are missed.

  15. A very sad day indeed and a great loss. I remember Darlene way back to her Vancouver Ladies Pipe Band days. She was a great piper, a tremendous person and it was always lovely to see her come out to the local games or at practice. My heartfelt condolences to Derek and family. Rob Menzies

  16. On behalf of Judi and myself we pass along our deepest sympathies to Derek, Diane, Patricia, Rick and the rest of the family on this sad event. I was one of Dar’s early teachers and had the pleasure of having her in the Vancouver Ladies in their glory years. I often remarked to Judi that success would come a lot easier with a band full of Darleens! Like many of the fortunate ones, we were so lucky to have her as part of our lives and so happy to have seen her at our recent Annual Gathering. Angus & Judi Macpherson.

  17. I was very sorry to hear of the death of Darleen, very sad. I had competed against her at the Northern Meeting back in the late 80’s and got to know her then. We always talked when she visited the World’s and she was such a lovely person. On behalf of Ruth and myself, sincere condolences to Derek and the family circle. Richard Parkes

  18. I can’t really add to what others have said. She made herself part of the crowd and lit the place up. She was lucky Derek to have you and you were lucky to have her for the time you had. So sad.

  19. Darleen was an amazing person. We all feel sad to have lost her and sad that her precious life was impacted so harshly by her illness. But, there are at least 2 powerful things that I will always remember more than the sadness. The 1st is this: in my life I have met very few people who just plain loved to pipe more than Darleen. She just loved it. She loved the look of the instrument, the sound of the instrument, the music, the scene, the pipe band and especially the piobaireachd. I can still remember being one of the judges in 1987 when Darleen won the Silver Medal at Inverness. She started out tuning a lovely pipe and then proceeded to “untune” it by moving the drones too far down. The amber light came on and she still wasn’t very close. I was just cringing because I knew how good she could be and this was not going well. Then, with only about 20 seconds to go she raised her drones and it was magical – what a sound! At the end of the performance, one of my co-judges uttered to us “What a great sound”. The other looked at me with a facial expression of a person about to dish out a compliment and said “Did you teach her that”? I quickly said “NO, she has been taught for years by Jimmy McMillan from Vancouver”. There was no doubt about it, she had given a superb rendition of Corrienessan’s Salute and was the most worthy winner of the Silver Medal. It was a great day for her and for Canadian piping. The 2nd thing I will remember was Darleen’s determination. She fought and fought throughout her illness and beat all the odds for so long. She didn’t complain but would usually be seen with a smile on her face. Derek would bring her to band practice regularly and she just loved hearing the band play. I have no doubt that if her health had permitted, she would still be in the SFU Pipe Band. We will miss Darleen very much. She was a great person.

  20. Very saddened to hear about this. Darleen was one of the brightest and cheeriest people I ever met in the piping world. One of the original members of the SFU family, she was very special indeed. Our deepest condolences to Derek and the family. Neil & Nancy Dickie



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