William Garrett (W.G.) (Bill) McMillan, Jr., died on September 3, 2020 at home, surrounded by those who loved and cherished him.
Bill was born on April 23, 1927 to Frances Graham and W.G. McMillan, Sr. in Lubbock. His early years were spent traveling and hunting with his parents. He graduated in 1945 from Lubbock High School and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After training in San Diego, he was shipped to Pearl Harbor and then to Guam. The twenty-one-day trip on the flat bottom barge was best remembered for his extreme seasickness. He often remarked that it was so rough, even the Captain was seasick. At the close of the war, he was transferred to the USS Bushnell, the mothership of nine submarines. He was honorably discharged in July of 1946 as a Seaman First Class.
Bill began classes at Texas Tech University in 1946. To supplement his $75.00 a month G.I. income, he worked as the college mailman for $15.00 a month. It was through his job as a mailman that he met Laura McCracken, who was working in the Texas Tech Engineering Office. He thought she was absolutely beautiful and kept asking her out. She finally agreed to let Bill take her to church, where upon he promptly fell asleep, as he had been up before dawn on a bobcat hunt. One of the things he loved about Laura was her ability to adapt to any situation. They were married on July 7, 1950 after they graduated from Texas Tech.
Hunting was an important part of Bill’s life. In 1947, when he was 20, he and his parents spent four months in Africa. This safari fed and employed thirteen different tribes. His experiences on this trip, where they camped for ninety-eight days, were the basis of some legendary stories. As a storyteller, Bill could thrill and terrify his four children with stories of charging lions and spitting cobras. He loved Africa and its wildness and splendor and returned in 1964 with Laura. On this trip, he made a movie about the Limpopo River. Bill had many other trips and hunting experiences. In all of them, he saw the wonderment of God’s world. He spoke many times of being in dangerous or difficult times and feeling God’s presence and love come over him.
Bill’s father employed him at McMillan Construction Company as a day laborer in 1950. In 1954, the name was changed to W.G. McMillan and Son, and Bill was given a ten percent interest. In 1958, with his father’s untimely death, Bill became head of the construction company. Sunday afternoons were family times of donning hard hats and going through job sites.
First United Methodist Church was an integral part of Bill’s life. He had been a member since 1936 and served and supported the church with his gifts, his talents, and his love. Over his lifetime, Bill was involved in many Lubbock Civic Organizations. They are too numerous to list, but some that were closest to his heart were the West Texas Museum, Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, Lubbock Lions Club, Boy Scouts of America, and the Lubbock Armed Forces Committee. He loved Texas Tech University and told his children they could go anywhere they wanted to go for college, but that he would pay for Texas Tech. Needless to say, his three daughters were graduates of Texas Tech and his son was appointed to the Air Force Academy, at no cost to Bill.
There is so much to say about a man who has lived for 93 years, all of them in Lubbock. But it is what his family and friends say about him and how he lived that we remember. He lived with integrity. He was a gentleman, a man of honor. He absolutely loved and delighted in life and felt he had been blessed beyond measure. He worked hard and gave his children a strong foundation of love, ethics, and altruism. His sense of humor, his storytelling, his loud booming voice due to deafness, his love of his family and his God are legendary. He lived life large and his absence will be felt by those who knew him.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved wife of sixty-four years, Laura; and his grandson, Barton Boyes of New Zealand.
He is survived by his four children, Shannon and Greg Hargrove, Tracey and Paul Boyes, Dan and Laurie McMillan, and Melinda Mitchell; his nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Funeral services are set for 11:00 a.m. Saturday, September 5, 2020 at the First United Methodist Church. There will be a reception following the service in the church parlor and a graveside memorial at Lubbock Cemetery.
Should friends desire, memorials can be made to the First United Methodist Church of Lubbock or to Texas Tech University.
A special thank you to the care givers at Home Instead, Hospice of Lubbock, Linda Wiggs and Patty Funck. You were all a blessing to him and our family.