‘Miss Elvira’ remembered fondly

Published 9:45 pm Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Elvira Minge Cochrane McMillan, known to most Brewton area residents as "Miss Elvira," died Sunday after an extended illness.
She was remembered this week as a generous person who loved her church and her community.
A native of Tuscaloosa, she was the fourth child and only daughter of Robert Hunt Cochrane and Elvira Minge Cochrane, both descendents of the earliest settlers of West Alabama.
She attended Sweet Briar College in Virginia and later graduated from the University of Alabama where she met the man who would become her husband, Thomas E. McMillan. She moved with him to Brewton in 1938, and the couple had five children, Ed Leigh McMillan, Thomas E. McMillan Jr., Robert C. McMillan, Katherine McMillan Owens and Elvira McMillan Tate.
She was active in civic affairs in the community, a founding member of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and a charter member of the Escambia County Historical Society.
Fellow St. Stephen's parishioner Thad Moore Sr. said, "If ever there was an angel on earth, it was Miss Elvira."
Moore said she did things quietly for people, never seeking publicity or recognition.
Another of Miss Elvira's passions was bridge. It's a passion Emily Finlay Wesley shared.
An avid swimmer, for many years she also shared her indoor pool with college students. Rosemary Jernigan, who founded the Honors Program at Jefferson Davis Community College, said traditionally, students in that program enjoyed lunch and a swimming party at Miss Elvira's at the end of the school year.
Brewton Police Chief David Lovelace has worked for Miss Elvira longer than he's been in law enforcement - somewhere between 28 and 30 years, he said.
Lovelace said Miss Elvira always greeted people with a smile.
Asked how he would title it if he did, Lovelace paused momentarily before saying, "The Compassion of Miss Elvira."
It was Miss Elvira's quiet generosity that her children honored on her 85th birthday when they established the Miss Elvira Outreach Fund at St. Stephen's.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to that fund at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 1261, Brewton, AL 36427; or to Wilmer Hall Children's Home, 3811 Old Shell Road, Mobile, AL 36608.
Graveside services will be held at 12:30 p.m. today, Wednesday, August 4, in Union Cemetery. Complete obituary information can be found on Page 2 of today's Brewton Standard.