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Eight Bells: Becky Milton Bioty

Published on August 28th, 2020

Rebecca J. Milton, 63, passed away August 20 at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, RI.

Born in Danville, Illinois, she was a daughter of the late James B. and Esther J. (Matthews) Milton, growing up in Hoopeston, IL, home of The Cornjerkers. She graduated from Illinois State University and was extremely active in the Kappa Delta sorority.

She loved to cook for the masses and lived by the Milton philosophy, “The more the merrier!” She worked in the fashion jewelry industry for several decades, which allowed her to travel the world.

Becky and her husband, the late Richard Bioty, were well known and respected in the racing community. While an avid sailor, cruising extensively, she developed a love of racing on their Beneteau First 42 Panama Red. Her racing career is highlighted by many 1st Place trophies in local and regional races including the Champion of Champions Race for Narragansett Bay.

Becky gave opportunity to many sailors who had never raced, and she gathered a wide circle of “Panamanians.” Eventually she set her sights higher and formed an all-women’s crew to race to Bermuda. She captained and navigated Panama Red and the woman’s crew to Bermuda three times. In 2005 she and her crew were awarded the 3rd Place in Class Trophy, the Faith Paulson Trophy for the highest placing all women’s crew and the Best Finishing Beneteau Trophy.

Her sailing career is studded by performance excellence, unwavering determination, generosity, and the ability to be a friend to all. Like she has always said “Panama Red isn’t a boat, it’s a family.” As the Panama Red family mourns our beloved Captain Becky, picture her sailing hard on the wind, driving forward, tweaking every last bit of speed out of Red with a big grin on her face.

Becky was the beloved sister of Patricia A. Bailey (Todd) Hoopeston, IL, Samuel J. Milton (Myrlie), Atlanta, GA, and the late Mary E. Milton; loving aunt of Kathy Milton, Jeffrey Scott, Joshua Milton, Jon David Scott; and loving great-aunt of Jana Perez. Stepdaughters Christine (John) Francis and Andrea Bioty; and grandchildren Lauren and Nick.

The family plans to host a Celebration of Life for Becky once the COVID pandemic has passed. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your local animal shelter.

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