John Archibald McMillan was born on Monday, April 20, 1925 in Owen Sound to William and Rena (Logan) McMillan. He was the fourth oldest of ten children with five sisters and four brothers. The McMillan family resided on a farm near Cruickshank Corner outside of Shallow Lake. As a child, Archie always enjoyed playing with his siblings and recalled the family receiving their first dog, a Christmas gift, when he was around five. He attended school in Cruickshank Corner and remembered his amazement when he witnessed cars passing by, often running to the fence to get a better view. Archie's dad's first car was a Model T of course. It was also at a young age that Archie learned the art of walking on his hands. Over time he perfected this craft and could soon walk long distances. His children recall on numerous occasions when Archie would race them. The twist was that the kids were using their feet, yet Archie was upside down using his hands. Imagine!
In his youth Archie enjoyed breaking in colts on the farm. Another of his pastimes was helping his mom in the garden. His mom's love of gardening was passed on to Archie and he spent countless hours over the years caring for his beloved vegetable garden. He would often wake up early to get out to the garden to start his weeding. Running was another pastime of Archie's, as he always had a desire to be the fastest. By now you can probably see that Archie always liked to push himself. No matter what the task, Archie always wanted to be the best!
After school Archie began to work at the Owen Sound Abattoir, a position he held for the next seventeen years. It was during this time that he met Elnora Fenwick, a woman he soon married. The couple welcomed their daughter Lynda, in 1949. Lynda was premature and weighed 2 lbs at birth, meaning she had to stay in hospital for several weeks until she reached 4 lbs. Sadly, Elnora had many health issues over the years and one such night she woke Archie up and told him to "Take care of Lynda and she kissed him goodbye." She passed away in Archie’s arms in their backyard.
Archie and Lynda soon moved back in with his parents as it was extremely difficult to work and care for Lynda at the same time. Over time, Archie was introduced to LaVerne Eva Georgina Summers. As luck would have it Archie's brother Cliff and LaVerne's sister Ruby introduced the two and asked them to join them at church, the rest is history as they say. Archie and LaVerne were married on August 3, 1957 at the Alliance Church in Owen Sound. Work soon took the McMillan family to Paisley as Archie took a job with Bruce Packers. The couple soon welcomed Ruth in 1960 and David in 1964. Who knew at this time that Archie would remain there as a butcher foreman for the next forty three years.
Archie loved pitching horseshoes and was very good at it, of course. He often travelled the area attending tournaments, usually playing with Sid Paterson and Elmer Cook. In his prime his ringer percentage was 77% and he recalled on one occasion beating the Manitoulin champs 30 - 3. One thing is for sure, if you played horseshoes, you definitely knew the name Archie McMillan. He also enjoyed lawn bowling and curling. In fact, at the age of 90 he was still curling every Thursday, but often joked that he didn't sweep much. His love of sports didn’t stop there. It didn't matter if it was baseball, football or hockey, if it was on TV, Archie was usually tuned in. Stories have been told that you often had to be careful picking your seat with Archie when watching the game as he was known to join the fight he was watching. Usually swinging his arms as if he was a participant in the match.
Archie's faith was very important to him. From a young age Archie remembered his mother reading the Bible to him. He continued on attending Sunday School, Confirmation and in later years acted as a Deacon and even the Caretaker at his beloved Immanuel Evangelical Missionary Church. His deep faith indeed helped him through many of his life challenges. It goes without saying that Archie loved his family deeply and was very family oriented. He liked to joke around and to pull a good prank. On numerous occasions he would challenge a family member to a race around the block, in which Archie would give them a sizeable lead, before jumping in his car and giving them a pleasant wave and a smile as he drove by (as they ran) always winning. Or maybe it was a simple one liner, Archie always enjoyed making people smile. He taught his family to appreciate everything that they had and always encouraged them to help others when able. Archie indeed left many valuable life lessons and stories for the generations that followed.
Sadly, Archie passed away peacefully, in the presence of his family at Summit Place, Owen Sound on Saturday, July 22, 2017 in his 93rd year.
Beloved husband of LaVerne. Loving father of Lynda (Richard) Carm of Calgary, Ruth (Gary) Richards of Strathroy and David of Port Elgin. He will be fondly remembered by his grandchildren Shawn, Shelley, Jonathan, Danial, Amanda and great-grandchildren Justin, Tyler, Taylor, Arianna, Logan, Vanessa, Olivia and Brennan. Archie will be missed by his brothers Elgin (Eleanor) of Shallow Lake, Clifford of Owen Sound and sisters Mavis Bryans of Alvinston, Evelyn Sprung, Violet (John) Roberts and Elaine Bumstead, all of Owen Sound. He was predeceased by his brothers William “Wilburn”, Laverne, sister Eileen Johnson and his parents William and Rena (Logan) McMillan.
A memorial service celebrating Archie’s life will be held at Immanuel Evangelical Missionary Church, Paisley on Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 1 p.m. Inurnment in Greenwood Cemetery, Owen Sound at a later date.
Memorial donations to Immanuel Evangelical Missionary Church or Chesley Hospital Foundation would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.Send to friend