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John Wilder McMillan, Jr.

Memorial Service: 6:00 p.m., Thursday, July 18, 2024

Location: Weymouth Funeral Home

Visitation: Following the Service

Location: Weymouth Funeral Home

Interment: At A Later Date

Location: Arlington National Cemetery

John Wilder McMillan, Jr., 82, died on the Fourth of July, 2024.

John was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Arlington, Virginia.  He attended the now historic Humes School, Brookridge Elementary and graduated from Wakefield High School.  Earning his tuition by working at Virginia Electric and Power Company every summer, he earned a degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Science in
Business Administration, Accounting in 1964.  He was a proud member of the Corps of Cadets and designated as a Distinguished Military Graduate.  He was a member of the Arnold Air Society, Scabbard and Blade, and in his senior year, President of the Virginia Tech Glee Club.  He also earned a Master’s Degree in Computer Science at West Virginia University.

He married his college sweetheart Madeline Vallario in November of 1964, and together they embarked on his career of service to his country as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.  He is a graduate of the Air Force Command Staff, Air War College, and Squadron Officers School.  He served with the Strategic Air Command at bases in California and Omaha, Nebraska.  He also served with the 13th Air Force Philippines, as the Director of Data Automation for bases in the Philippines and Thailand; with Headquarters Command at Bolling AFB and Andrews AFB, Washington D.C.; with the Tactical Air Command, Command and Control Interoperability at Langley AFB, Virginia, and with service as Secretary to Working Group Two of the Allied Data Systems Interoperability Agency, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

After twenty years of military service, he retired from the U.S. Air Force having earned the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters; the Air Force Commendation Medal; the Air Force Longevity Service Ribbon with four Oak Leaf Clusters, The National Defenses Service Medal; the Vietnam Service Medal with Bronze Star; the Philippines Presidential Unit Citation; and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross.

He had a long career in private industry with Scientific Application International Corporation, Techplan Corporation, and Associated Project Leader, Information Interoperability for the Mitre Corporation.  Other activities included membership in the Fort Eustis Chapel Choir, coaching his son’s baseball team, Vice President of Denbigh High School Band Boosters and recipient of that organization’s first Betty Boone Award; served as president of the Dozier PTA; and member of the NNPS Reassignment Task Force which established the magnet school program.  

In 1996, he was elected to the Newport News School Board and as a member served tirelessly on its many committees, the Hampton Roads Public Education Service Agency, STEP.com advisory committee, board liaison for the Newport News Council of PTSs , and as Vice Chairman of the Board for two years.  For consecutive terms in 2002 and 2003 he was selected as Chairman of the Board.  His service was highlighted by the need to participate in the selection of two superintendents, and the opening of four new schools (Woodside and Heritage High Schools, Passage Middle School, and Stanford Elementary); representing the Newport News School Board as a delegate to three Virginia School Board Association State Conventions; serving two years on the Tidewater Region Nominating Committee for the Virginia School Board Association; and being awarded a Life Membership by the Newport News Council of PTAs.  He was also, for many years, a member of the Newport News Education Foundation.

In 2012, John was appointed to the Thomas Nelson Community College (now Virginia Peninsula Community College) board.  He remained a dedicated and enthusiastic member until 2022, serving as Chairman of the Board 2015-2017, and enjoyed his active participation with the faculty and students. 

A Key Club member in high school, John became reengaged in the organization becoming president of the Denbigh Kiwanis Club in 2011 and charter member of the Carrollton Kiwanis Club in 2013. In 2021 he was presented with his Legion of Honor for 30 years.  He served as Lieutenant Governor in 2019 and 2020-2021.  He was a Kiwanis International George F. Hixon Fellowship Award recipient and a Life Member of the Capitol District Foundation.

John is survived by his wife of 59 years, Madeline; his sister Marie Gleason (Jack) of Greenwood, IN; three children, Leigh Avery (Michael), Anne Henderson (David), and Nicholas McMillan, three grandchildren, a bevy of nieces and nephews, and many friends.  He was a reserved, modest man who adored his family and made every sacrifice for them.  Unless he was on duty, he never missed a ball game, birthday, school program or family event often traveling through time zones to arrive. A quiet sense of humor, strong Redskins fan, determined golfer, he could perform to the delight of children, a perfect Donald Duck imitation and make delicious Mickey Mouse pancakes!

A Memorial Service will be held at Weymouth Funeral Home, 12746 Nettles Drive, Newport News, Thursday, 6pm, July 18, 2024, with visitation following the service.  Interment with full military honors with take place at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery. His memory can be honored with contributions in his name to VTCC Scholarship Annual Fund (877178), payable to Virginia Tech Foundation, 902 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg, VA 24061 or online at https://vtcc.vt.edu/give.html


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#9 Geraldine Mathey 2024-07-11 19:46
I remember his smile and dedication to the staff and students at Thomas Nelson Community College. He always had a kind word for all. Rest in peace, Mr. McMillan, you have earned it.
#8 Wanda Pierre 2024-07-11 17:10
Madeline, Your union was one to admire! You two were the perfect fit and I’m sorry for the loss of your best friend, your husband, your children's father. Rest in peace, John! He left a lasting impact on those who were fortunate enough to know him. I grieve with you at this time and also celebrate the incredible life that John lived. Cherish his memories always!
#7 Robin Nelhuebel 2024-07-11 16:56
I am so sorry to hear of John's passing. We worked together within the NN Education Foundation and Lett Scholarship committee. John was a wonderful advocate for education and his continuing contributions will be greatly missed.
#6 Dean Cockrum 2024-07-11 13:27
God Bless and goodbye my friend.
#5 Liz Rollins 2024-07-11 13:17
It was an honor to serve with John in Kiwanis, and I always admired him for his strength, humility and willingness to serve others throughout his life. John made an incredible impact in our community and around the world. Thank you for your service. Sending prayers and love to Madeline and family.
#4 Michele Hirsch 2024-07-11 01:23
I was saddened to hear about John’s death. He was a great man who dedicated his life to his country, family and friends. Though this must be a very difficult time, please remember that your family and you are in my thoughts and prayers.
From Your Neighbor,
#3 Rob Wright 2024-07-11 00:52
He will be greatly missed. I'm thankful to have met him and his family! God bless!
#2 Patricia Harris 2024-07-10 22:44
To a journey well traveled- God bless John on his return to his Father. My condolences to Madeline and her family; may peace come to you soon so your abundant memories can lift you up.
#1 Daniel Baxter 2024-07-10 20:56
John was and always will be an inspiration to me. He was a sage mentor and wealth of information and expertise, is short, he was a consummate mentor and educator. I always found his conversations to be insightful and engaging. His passing leaves a void in the hearts and spirits of all who had the honor to know him.

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