James “Jim” Robert MacMillan (98) died Thursday, June 10, 2021. Jim was born in Richmond, VA, to Robert Amos MacMillan and Grace Maude Asher MacMillan, the second of their four children. Jim grew up playing along the James River in Richmond and spent his summers working at his aunt’s farm in North Carolina. Jim attended John Marshall High School, in Richmond, where he joined the school’s prominent cadet corps learning basic military skills and preparing him for his involvement in World War II. Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army in the 87th Infantry Division “The Golden Acorn” is where Sgt. James R. MacMillan fulfilled his duty. Being mechanically inclined, he was placed in Anti-Tank companies. He rarely had room for his rifle, because he carried the equipment for detecting and removing land mines, so the troops could advance. During one unusually severe winter, Jim faced hardships he had never known before in the Battle of the Bulge, the turning point of the war in Europe. Then he helped push the Nazis back eastward, but he declined to inspect a concentration camp.
With his military duty behind him, he returned home in 1946 to marry “Bettie” Mary Elizabeth Kerns. The G.I. Bill allowed him to earn a mechanical engineering degree at Virginia Tech. Graduating in 1950, he began his career with DuPont. Jim and Bettie settled near the DuPont Nylon Plant in Martinsville, VA, where their three daughters were born. In addition to traveling and camping frequently with his girls, he became involved in Boy Scouting. In 1960 Jim accepted a transfer to Florence, SC. Mylar was a new product for him and it was a new plant, but he enjoyed the challenge of keeping the production lines properly maintained. He enjoyed the variety the job presented and training the younger men to “think outside the box”. Another opportunity arose in 1964 to start production at a new DuPont Mylar plant in Luxembourg, Europe. The whole family was eager to experience the new culture and languages and travel. Jim’s job once again was to train local men to maintain and run the production lines. His few and halting German words won their hearts. The family took every chance to travel and learn while abroad. In 1967, he chose to return to the Florence plant where he already had many friends, and it offered an easy adjustment for all his girls. He continued to travel all over the USA with his girls, making sure they learned to appreciate the world. Eventually, he was offered an early retirement. This gave him free time to garden, golf, work on old cars with his buddy, Ron Fike, and continue traveling with Bettie. Jim and Bettie enjoyed 73 wonderful years of marriage.
Jim is predeceased by his wife, his parents, and his sisters Mildred McCullough and Marion Moody. Living family members include his brother “Bill” William E. MacMillan; three daughters, Barbara Samaha (Tommy); Grace Patterson (Pat); and Carolyn Gray (Jimmy); and his brother-in-law James D. McCullough (Joanie). Grandchildren: Thomas Samaha (Carmin); James Samaha (Ellen); Joseph Samaha (Katie); Nick Samaha (Rebecca); Elizabeth Moloney (James); Rebecca Turner (Steven); Anna Weston Tyner (Ricky); Janet Marie Gray; Katie Luker (Billy). His 19 much loved great grandchildren (with one more on the way) call him Daddy Mac.
Jim and Bettie enjoyed their years with their adopted family at Pee Dee Gardens Assisted Living Community, and we daughters want to thank that wonderful staff for loving our parents so well.
The family will receive friends from 6-8 Pm on Friday, June 18, 2021 at Cain Calcutt Funeral Home. A funeral service with military honors will be held at 3:00 PM on Saturday, June 19, 2021 at Highland Park United Methodist Church. Jim will be Entombed in the Florence Memorial Gardens Mausoleum.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James "Jim" Robert MacMillan, please visit our floral store.