Locals remember Bob McMillan

Published 10:04 am Friday, February 16, 2018

By Lydia Grimes

feature reporter

Brewton lost one of its most prominent citizens last week with the death of Bob McMillan at the age of 67.

Robert Cochrane McMillan died Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 and the funeral was held on Monday, Feb. 11, at St. Stephens Episcopal Church, with burial in Union Cemetery. He was a resident of Grayton Beach and a long time resident of Brewton.

McMillan was born May 11, 1950, the youngest of five children born to Thomas Edward McMillan and Elvira Minge Cochrane McMillan of Brewton.

He attended school in the Brewton school system and graduated from T.R. Miller High School in 1968. He later attended Marion Military Institute and the University of Alabama. After a trip to Europe, he returned to Brewton, met and married Candy McDowell on March 1, 1975.

He became a general partner with his siblings  and was a member of the Neal Land and Timber board of directors at Bountstown, Fla. He became very active in the early 1980s with the rehabilitation project of downtown Brewton and served as the chairman of the Downtown Revitalization Steering Committee. He personally rehabilitated two historical buildings in downtown, The Ritz and The L House. Due to his efforts as chairman of the Brewton Development Authority, most of the downtown area was declared a historical district and a sidewalk was built to the rear of the downtown stores where parking spaces were provided. He worked tirelessly helping to preserve and promote the downtown Brewton area.

He was named Citizen of the Year in 1984 by the Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce.

He was the founder of The Community Character Project of Escambia County. The CCP  was a non-profit corporation established to develop and enhance an atmosphere of moral and civic virtue. He served on the board of directors with Volunteers of America Southeast, Inc. and Brewton VOA Elderly Housin, Inc. from 1994 to 2016.

It was his interest in politics and working with Winton “Red” Blount on his campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1972 that led him to support the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. He served on the Board of Directors for the ASF from 1996 to 2017. It was his love of the arts that led him to become involved with the Brewton Arts Council, taking part in many productions.

He touched people in ways they did not even realize. For many years he served as Santa Claus for the annual Christmas parade and a better Santa could not have been found. It was if he transitioned into the jolly old guy during the holiday season, and truth be told, maybe he did.

He was a member of St. Stephens Episcopal Church and served in many capacities. He was on the Vestry and Senior Warden and served the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast. He was a Lay Delicate to the National Episcopal Church conventions.

His brother, Tom McMillan said he remembered many things about his brother.

“I think about growing up together,” he said. “We even shared a room when we were young. Our childhood was spent playing outside, riding mo-pads all over town and doing other things children did in those days. Everybody should have a brother like him. I will miss him.”

He is survived by his wife, Candy McDowell McMillan; sons, Robert Cochrane McMillan Jr. of Oakland, Calif. and Collin Malcolm (Coley) of Graydon Beach; a daughter, Brett McMillan (Kevin) Kirkendall of Mobile; six grandchildren, Coley Krieg, Blaze Kirkendall, Preston Kirkendall, Brewer Kirkendall, Sarah Grace Kirkendall and Domino Rose McMillan; sisters, Elvira M. (Jay) Mannelly of Atlanta, Ga. and Kate M. (Paul) Owens of Destin, Fla. and his brother, Thomas E. (Jane) McMillan Jr. of Brewton.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Ed Leigh McMillan II and his parents.

Memorial donations may be made to the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast for Clergy Development: Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, P.O. Box 13330, Pensacola, Fla. 32591.

Williams Memorial Chapel of Brewton was in charge of the arrangements.