William Alfred “Bill” McMillan passed away in Williamsburg, VA in hospice care with loving family by his side on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, two days before his 89th birthday on Thanksgiving Day.
Born November 23, 1934 to John Joseph McMillan and Martha Caswell McMillan in Detroit, Michigan, Bill was raised in Detroit and attended Cass Tech High School. Growing up, Bill spent many wonderful summers at the McMillan family farm in Hibbert Township, Ontario, Canada staying with his Uncle William and Aunt Mary McMillan and his cousins, Dan, Noreen and Anne Marie. While still in his teens, Bill enlisted in the Army and developed sharpshooting skills. He saw active combat duty in the Korean War, including intense fighting at the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. Bill was wounded multiple times and was the recipient of Purple Heart Medals during his service in Korea. He carried shrapnel in his chest from those battles for the remainder of his life. Bill’s Army service left a deep impression on his life, and personally volunteering to support wounded veterans and honoring fallen soldiers was always extremely important to him.
After his Army service, Bill went to the University of Detroit Mercy using his GI Bill Benefits and graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. Upon receiving his degree, Bill began his long career in the automotive industry, becoming a well-known and industry-acknowledged expert in developing automotive paint and painting processes. Bill’s successful career with General Motors spanned four decades. In 1990, Bill was one of the team that General Motors selected to start up their new company, the Saturn Motor Corporation, in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and together with his wife, Mary Ann, moved to Franklin, TN. Bill was very proud of the innovation and quality production that went into the launch of the Saturn automobiles. After his retirement from General Motors, and many happy years living in Franklin, Bill and Mary Ann moved back home to Milford, Michigan, where they loved living near their son, John, daughter-in-law, Denise, and granddaughter, Sarah. In the early years of retirement, Bill selectively accepted independent consulting jobs around the world, and was happy to focus most of his attention on family and volunteer work. For the past ten years Bill and Mary Ann have enjoyed living an active senior life with many dear friends in Williamsburg, Virginia near their daughter, Laura, and son-in-law, George.
Bill lived a very active life of service, and he was committed to volunteering and helping others throughout his life. In addition to his extensive work supporting military veterans and fallen warriors, he was a dedicated volunteer in every community where he lived. In Tennessee, he was named Volunteer of the Year for Williamson County for the work he did in the community, including delivering Meals on Wheels, mentoring students, and working on the crisis center hotline. In Virginia, the Kingsmill Community Services Association in Williamsburg named him Volunteer of the Year for the work he did for the betterment of the community. He was a devoted Catholic Church member throughout his life, serving at various times as Usher, Eucharistic Minister, in Men’s Club, and as a 4th Degree Knight in the Knights of Columbus.
As all of his friends and loved ones know, Bill loved to talk and share stories about his experiences. Throughout Bill’s long life, he was well educated on a wide range of topics, remained up-to-date on current issues, and he lived a very interesting and accomplished life – so his stories were fascinating and entertaining. Bill’s service and values will forever be remembered in the countless lives he has touched. He – and his stories – will be forever missed and cherished.
Bill is survived by his beloved wife of 35 years, Mary Ann McMillan; his son, John J. (Denise) McMillan and granddaughter, Sarah; his stepdaughter, Laura L. (George) Herriage and grandsons, Tim, Jaymon and George, III; his sister, Juanita Thrasher; his cousins, Dan (Ann) McMillan and Noreen Jensen. He is also survived by son,Timothy; daughter, Maureen; daughter Mary and grandson, Dwayne; many beloved nieces and nephews; great-grandchildren, -nieces, and -nephews; and amazing friends who are more like family. Bill is preceded in death by his father, John, mother, Martha, and cousin, Anne Marie.
Services for Bill will be a Funeral Mass at 11AM on Tuesday, January 16, 2024 at St. Bede Catholic Church, 3686 Ironbound Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188, followed by a celebration of life service from 1PM to 3PM at Williamsburg Landing, Assisted Living Building, the Charter Room, 5500 Williamsburg Landing Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23185. Internment will be at a later date in the McMillan family cemetery, St. Columban Roman Catholic Cemetery, in Ontario, Canada.
Saint Bede Catholic Church - Directions
3686 Ironbound Road
WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia 23188