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Author Topic: Jerry McMillin has passed away  (Read 1055 times)

Offline Chris McMillin

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Jerry McMillin has passed away
« on: December 24, 2021, 05:44:32 PM »
My dad Jerry McMillin died on 12-21, Tuesday morning. He was a giant in my life, taught me to tie my shoes, model, build engines and vehicles, to fly, and learned a ton about life from him. He was 88 years old.

Dad was born in a house in Lawrenceville, Illinois in February of 1933. He got a glider from his Aunt Leona that he glided carefully resisting the urge to give it a big toss because he knew he could never repair it, he was about 3 then. He built models his whole life, grandpa was in the Navy in WWII as a SeaBee in the Pacific and landed on Saipan, the Navy had the good models and he sent dad two Cleveland kits of full balsa in which dad built the Thunderbolt and won a ribbon at the fair. He flew Stunt, Scale and Speed and ran with such as Dave Cotton, Bud Brown, Ted Black, Harry Latshaw, John Leach, flying all events. I have an A Speed model called the White Swan he built with a McCoy RR .19.
 
He joined the Navy in 1950 when he was 17 and finished High School in boot camp. He rated a Machinist Mate and ultimately ranked a Petty Officer 2nd Class. He was a mechanic in VP-6 on Neptunes, Air Crewman, and went to Flight Engineer school crewing that position ultimately. The Navy had hobby shops on the land bases and he built a P2V Neptune and F-90 Dyna Jet CL models of note, but I think the Warrior was a favorite because there are a few pictures of a couple of different ones. He transferred to VF-194 where on the USS Boxer they fought the Commie Hoard through mid to late 1953 until after the cease fire when he was mustered out after deciding not to re-up and used his GI Bill to learn to fly at O'Neil's Airport outside Lawrenceville.

He flew for Vincennes Home Improvement after instructing at Frank O'Neil's under Earl Leach, flew lots of cool stuff like ferried an A-26 from Davis Monthan to indiana and P-51's from Indiana to Florida. He flew the DC-3 for Southern Airways of Atlanta, then Green Construction's Howard Super Ventura and then Howard 500 before getting hired at TWA in 1964.

We flew a lot of models in Chicago in 1964 to 1966 once he was on TWA. I learned to fly on a Ringmaster Jr with a Hope 19 on a U-Reely. He just rolled out enough line length to meet the weather conditions! He built a bunch of models at that time and two Warriors and a Testors senior were mine after being handed down. I learned the basics on these and they lasted into our move to California. I still have a Squaw and DeBolt Continental he built then, not a scratch or tear from that good old airport dope... brushed on. Dad was a master at brushing and thinned it to perfection then could tip and cross stroke perfectly. We later had a wooden cabin cruiser he painted annually, he liked it!

Once in SoCal he was big into Stunt and built a Magician to learn the "new" pattern and then a Smoothie in which he modified beautifully and competed extensively, narrowly missing the finals at the Los Al Nats in 1967. His flying partner then was Bill Rutherford and I recall him saying they were robbed, he missed the final too flying an orange Stingray.
Dad then built a modified Shark 45 called AMA 68 because that was the big address decals on the wing. He flew that extensively too competing against the best in SoCal at the time. Tome Warden, Keith Trostle, Bill Rutherford, Dick Williams, Bart Klapinski, Jim Mayfield, etc...
Then dad bought  Staggerwing Beech and modeling became less all engaging for him.

He raced in the 1970 Reno Air races, was an official, a timer, and judge at aerobatic contests, record setter, had an interest in a flight school and taught me to fly. We had a fleet of Citabrias, our newest a 7KCAB with inverted fuel and oil system and 150 hp which iloved to do acro in, i'm sure dad was getting sick but he just kept showing me the ropes. I know he didn't like the extended inverted stuff, because I now don't either!

Dad had many interests, water skiing, camping, shooting, boating offshore, traveling with mom to far flung countries around the globe, and his beloved Jaguar show car stable of E-Types while continuing his career at TWA. He was one the first checked out on the L-1011, the 767 ETOPS operation, and settled into a long stint as L-1011 captain in Los Angeles. All the while able to support and encourage four children in their selected callings and hobbies.

He retired from TWA off the 747 to Florida, though mom wouldn't let him sell the Huntington Beach house we gew up in, so they became Bi-Coastal on west coast Florida and west coast California! In Florida dad again indulged his boat and airplane thing, and very nice Riva 24 with Bravo II 454 Mercury for power and a Stinson Station Wagon worthy for showing. He picked up RC flying and flew several times a week with his old childhood friend Harry Latshaw that had retired near them from Allison in Indianapolis.

The dementia set in slowly, being close to a man with high level critical thinking and operating skills with machines over the decades makes one astute at seeing the decline, something that I did not enjoy it being my position. He quit flying when he was 75 but kept his CFI current and gave guys their BFR's in the area. He quit boating and eventually the two houses and traveling were too much and his favorite house in Florida was sold, his boat sold, his motorcycle he rode across the country solo the summer of his airline retirement all went. I did fly the Stinson home to SoCal and taught my youngest up to solo in it, though he still hasn't soloed. It soon went too.

Finally he was flying electric RC at the local park in Costa Mesa, enjoying the drive there and back as well as to the hobby shop and coffee with his old Huntington Beach friends and Donut Derelicts with the Jag or Ferrari. But then it happened fast and the trip to a contest here in Tucson in 2019 seemed to mark the beginning of a fast decline. He enjoyed his trip, loved our house and could recall all of his old friends but it was obvious his dementia was now ever present. Six months ago he and mom moved to a memory center portion of a home for the elderly, she sold her house and about two weeks ago he stopped getting up out of bed. Eventually he couldn't swallow. I knew my giant was going to pass on. I saw him, spoke to him and he could hear me. I thanked him for a great life and example. He held on a long time, but his end of life decree demanded no artificial means for food and drink, he went a week without drinking, tough old guy.

So, a shorter version wouldn't do I didn't think. I left out so much to make it readable, but if you knew Jerry I'm sure you had your own memories of him, his funny way of putting things serious and humorous, his generosity, smile and happy demeanor. So long Dad, see you in a little while.

Chris McMillin   
« Last Edit: December 24, 2021, 06:01:22 PM by Chris McMillin »

Offline Charles Carter

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2021, 06:49:14 PM »
Chris sorry to hear about your dad passing away. Blessings and comfort toward you.

Charles Carter

Offline Joseph Daly

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2021, 08:35:16 PM »
Chris,
Sorry for your loss. He and you are in our thoughts and prayers.

The Daly’s

Offline Serge_Krauss

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2021, 09:16:00 PM »
Oh, Chris, 'so sorry for the loss of your dad. I too know how hard it is to let go of a very special parent in this way, but you have written an amazing eulogy that I will remember. What a life!

Offline James Mills

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2021, 09:27:07 PM »
Chris,
So very sorry to hear of your loss.  We'll be praying for you and your family.

James, Beth, and Ben
AMA 491167

Offline Will Hinton

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2021, 09:21:33 AM »
Chris,
This is the most heartfelt eulogy I have ever read and I thank you for it even though you made my screen go blurry.  I, too, lost a dad with a sharp mind who had dementia near the end and know the frustration and sorrow that goes with it.  I pray God's very best for you and your family.
John 5:24   www.fcmodelers.com

Offline Dan McEntee

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2021, 10:57:39 AM »
   I'm glad to have known Jerry and and thankful for the times we got together at VSC and Reno. A nice man, a knowledgeable man that I would have liked to have seen more often. To say that he lived a full life would be an understatement of a large magnitude when you consider what he crammed into it and the people he touched and influenced. I'm sure he was proud of you and the whole extended family also. He has left behind a great legacy his family and friends will remember for a long, long time.
   With Fond Memories,
   Dan McEntee and Family.
AMA 28784
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AMA 480405 (American Motorcyclist Association)

Offline Warren Walker

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2021, 02:31:44 PM »
Chris I am truly sorry to hear of your dads passing, thanks for bringing him to our house and giving
me the opportunity to meet such a fine gentleman and after knowing you Its obvious the apple didn't fall far from the tree.
W.W.

Offline Bill Schwagerman

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2021, 06:09:19 PM »
Thank you for sharing Chris. What a blessing to have a dad so talented and driven. We lost our dad a year ago so we feel your loss.

Bill

From Missouri

Offline wwwarbird

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2021, 06:39:33 PM »

 Very sorry to hear of your loss Chris, and even tougher coming at the time of year that brings families closest. Hopefully you can take solace in knowing the torch has been left in good hands.
Narrowly averting disaster since 1964! 

Wayne Willey
Albert Lea, MN U.S.A. IC C/L Aircraft Modeler, Ex AMA member

Offline john e. holliday

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2021, 08:45:26 PM »
So sorry to hear of your loss especially this time of year.  I don't believe I ever met your Dad, but am privileged to know you.   So, take care young man until we meet again. D>K
John E. "DOC" Holliday
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Offline Chris Cox

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2021, 11:59:23 AM »
Beautifully written Chris.  Your dad was an amazing guy!  What a wonderful life he had.  No question he was the Number One influence in you life.   Sure wish I could have met him in person.

Condolences to your family Chris.  A tough Christmas to be sure.   I lost my dad 24 years ago.  The hurt lessens, but never goes away. 

Chris

Offline Peter in Fairfax, VA

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2021, 05:29:25 PM »
Chris,

Sorry for your loss; condolences.  The bio you wrote is an excellent, inspiring piece of writing, showing a long interest in transportation technology and its applications.

thanks for sharing,

Peter

Offline Chris McMillin

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2021, 06:30:41 PM »
Thanks so much for the heartfelt condolences, guys. It helps a lot to know the group is filled with good men. Jerry’s funeral will be January 9th in Mission Viejo, CA, details to follow.
Chris…

Offline Paul Taylor

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2021, 12:20:57 PM »
Our condolences Chris to you and your family. 🙏🏼
Paul
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Offline phil c

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2021, 04:19:41 PM »
Thanks for sharing you Dad's bountiful life.  He was an admirable man.

Alzheimer's is such a horrible disease.  Out of some 40 aunts and uncles only a couple died old and without Alzheimer's.

Keep up your spirits and the grief does go away.
phil Cartier

Offline Chris McMillin

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2022, 03:46:44 AM »
Thanks to everyone that has commented on Dad's passing, I've had some very nice comments here and privately and it is a big help to know so many enjoyed and cherished him like me and my family certainly did.
Here is a link to his memorial, it is on Jan 9th, in Mission Viejo, CA at 10:30 am. Please all are invited.
Chris...

https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/mission-viejo-ca/jerry-mcmillin-10498539

Offline Allen Goff

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Re: Jerry McMillin has passed away
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2022, 05:58:09 AM »
Chris, sorry to hear about the passing of your father..Praying for you and your family.
Blessings


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