April 21, 1920January 31, 2013

Milton Elliot Wadsworth passed away at home January 31, 2013, after a brief struggle with pancreatic cancer. Professor Wadsworth was a distinguished professor emeritus of metallurgy at the University of Utah. A consummate intellectual, adventurer, world traveler, tap dancer, World War II veteran, motorcycle rider, carpenter, and family man, Professor Wadsworth left a positive impact on thousands of people over his lifetime and during his 45-year academic career. Most especially, he was the proud father of six daughters and adoring husband of Mirian Bailey Wadsworth, his wife of 69 years.

Professor Wadsworth was born February 9, 1922 in Salt Lake City to Thomas Guy Wadsworth and Agnes Flockhart Wadsworth. He attended Lowell Elementary, Roosevelt Junior High, and East High Schools. After working as a riveter at an aircraft factory in Burbank, California before Pearl Harbor, and serving as an infantry officer in the US Army during World War II, Professor Wadsworth began a lifelong relationship with the University of Utah, where he received his B.S. in 1948 and his Ph.D. in metallurgical engineering in 1951.

Milton and Mirian’s love affair began in 1939 when they enrolled in the Spring Flowers of the Wasatch as freshmen at the University of Utah. Both members of the US Army, they were the first couple married in uniform at the Fort Douglas Chapel in 1943. Over the years, they lovingly remodeled their 19th century ancestral home and raised their family.

In 1968, Professor Wadsworth was asked by the Ford Foundation to head up a graduate program in metallurgy at the University of the Philippines. He packed up his wife, daughters and Labrador retriever and began the greatest adventure of their lives. For the next two years, from their home in Manila, they made extensive travels throughout Asia, including a family road trip through the backcountry of Cambodia in the spring of 1969, unaware of the US’ secret bombing campaign.

During his career at the University, Professor Wadsworth served twice as chair of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering, as well as director of the Utah Mining and Minerals Research Institute, and dean of the College of Mines and Earth Sciences. He received the University’s Distinguished Research Award, Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Rosenblatt Prize. Past-president of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers and a Life Member of the American Society of Metals, Professor Wadsworth won numerous professional and academic accolades, and two honorary doctorates. Five patents and 145 papers bear his name.

Professor Wadsworth’s contributions go beyond his impact on metallurgical engineering, beyond the fraternity of scientists and engineers. He was an excellent spokesperson for the beauty of metallurgy, and science in general. All who listened benefited from his wisdom and understanding. The world is a better place because of his impact on so many people.

Professor Wadsworth is survived by wife, Mirian, daughters Kathryn Davis, Jane Wadsworth, Amy Wadsworth (David Richardson), Leslie Wadsworth-Smith (Alan Smith), Margaret Morrison (Richard), and nineteen grandchildren. He is preceded in death by daughter Cristine Blanch, sons in law Thomas Blanch and Jon Davis, and grandchildren Collin Davis, Ellen Marie Morrison, and Laura Elizabeth Blanch.

Funeral services will be held at the Brookshire Ward (3487 S. 1300 E.) Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 at 2:00. Visitation is one hour prior to the service. Internment is at Wasatch Lawn. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the University of Utah’s Milton E. Wadsworth Endowment fund online at or by mail care of Leslie Bigler, College of Mines and Earth Sciences, University of Utah, 115 South 1460 East Rm 205, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-0102.



have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted

Ravi Nadkarni

February 8, 2013

Dear Mirian and family: I am so sorry for your loss. Milt was an important part of my life and I remember the many times we met after I graduated from Utah. In the Philippines, in Salt Lake during our annual visits and so on. His curiosity and interests were infectious.

Andy Odoardi

February 6, 2013

Dear Katie and Amy, Becky and I extend our condolences to you and all your family. Your Dad always impressed me with his gentleness and humility. You are all so fortunate to have had so loving a father and able to enjoy the benefits of his support, presence, and influence. We know you will miss him greatly and wish you comfort in the wonderful memories of so meaningful a life.

Bobbi Ellis - Mathews

February 6, 2013

I remember your father as a young girl. Especially Guy & Agnes. My grandfather, Merwyn Ellis ( was the barber in Sugarhouse ) loved your family & my father Floyd Ellis too. Will be greatly missed.

Dorothy Dicou-Bennion

February 5, 2013

Margaret, I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad. It's been years but I still look back fondly on our friendship. My prayers are with you and you family.

Ruth Palmer

February 5, 2013

My thoughts go back to when we lived next door. You could not have asked for better neighbors. Our daughter, Stephanie, used to call Miriam, grandma. Miriam & Milt always welcomed us into their yard and home to play and/or talk. Do you remember teaching Stephanie how to "pump" to get going on your swing? Stephanie stills talks fondly about Ellie the Elephant Milt & Miriam gave her when she was young. It went EVERYWHERE with her. As you can see, Milt & Miriam hold a very special place in our hearts. We love you. Tom, Ruth, & Stephanie Palmer

Garry Warren

February 5, 2013

Dear Mirian & family, my sincere condolences for your loss. I often wonder what path my career might have taken if not for Milt. He was a huge positive influence on my life that I will never forget and for which I will always be grateful. He will be fondly remembered by countless students and colleagues.

Joan Plowgian Holt

February 5, 2013

Dear Jane -
I was sorry to learn of the passing of your father. May the Lord bless you with comfort and peace at this time.
Sincerely -

Ray Peterson

February 4, 2013

Professor Wadsworth was an outstanding teacher and mentor. I learned so much from him, both professionally and personally. My interactions with him made me a better person and any small bit of success I may have achieved, I owe in part to him. I will always hold him up as a role model on how to live my life.

Paul Van Dam

February 4, 2013

Katie, Sorry to read of the passing of your father. I recall with great fondness our quartet meeting and practicing at their home. The conversations with your parents were always the highlight. Hope you are doing well.

Robert and Betty Bartlett

February 4, 2013

Milt was one of the GREATEST persons we've known and most loved,