Monday, July 30, 2012

Formal Obit for Bill McMillian, Sr, MMR

William “Bill” Arthur McMillan, Sr, MMR

Master Model Railroader #401, Bill McMillan peacefully joined his beloved wife Carola on July 24, 2012.  He was a retired Congressional Liaison for the Department of the Navy yet continued working as a private consultant to the department and pursuing his love of model railroading.  Bill was a long time member of the NMRA, active in the MER and James River Division, the James River Division On30 Modular group, the Ma & Pa Historical Society and various local groups.  He is survived by his son, Artie McMillan; his daughter Sue McMillan; and his two granddaughters, Alex and Tyler McMillan.  Bill was 85 years of age.

Among his many model railroad accomplishments, he was most proud to obtain his MMR certificate on September 21, 2007.  He was a superb modeler as witnessed by his beautiful HO scale Ma & Pa layout of the Maryland District set in October 1939 between Baltimore, Maryland and Delta, Pennsylvania with staging into York Pennsylvania.  The layout was fully sceniced and operational with a new Dallastown branch nearing completion.  Bill’s Ma & Pa was regularly operated by a devoted group of operators who also volunteered many hours towards construction and maintenance efforts becoming a part of the layout. 

The family graciously allowed a small group of the Ma & Pa operators to visit Saturday July 28 to operate the layout one last time as a tribute to its Chief Operating Officer and creator.  Two “sweeper trains” were run, much like the prototype railroad ran upon its discontinuation of service, to clean out all the sidings and towns.  A final train was run out of Baltimore to Delta with lone Ma & Pa  2-8-0 #41, a Baldwin locomotive built in 1941, pulling coach #20 as the McMillan Memorial Special carrying its fallen leader.  The Special stopped at every station along the line for mourners to pay their last respects. 

As a fitting farewell to Bill, the following poem is repeated from the memorial service bulletin.


The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day,
But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn’t a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing,
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The model railroading hobby has lost a valued friend and mentor.  He will be greatly missed.

Compiled by Mike Garber

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