Sunday, April 23, 2017

I Lost Another Uncle

I learned yesterday that my Uncle Charles Raymond 'Charlie' McMillin died. I have no details of his actual age, birth and death dates but I think he may have been born in 1922 or 1923.  And he died recently.  So he lived a full life for pretty close to 95 years.

I know that he was in the Navy during WWII, and drove a landing craft to carry soldiers from the ships to the shore. But he never talked to me about it in spite of my inquisitive nature about anything military.   But I know he always had an easy smile and relaxed way about him, and stayed skinny all his life.  He dearly loved his family.

After the war, he became the other brother in McMillin Brothers, a very successful mercantile type store in Harrisonburg, Louisiana that my father, Leroy, the oldest sibling, started with a $300 loan from a family friend, and an empty newspaper printing building my mother inherited when her father died.  Her father was the publisher of the Catahoula News, a weekly newspaper that could trace its roots back to 1852.

But Charlie had a good mind and lots of ambition, which greatly added to my dad's 'hard work' ethic. Between the two of them, the store prospered and expanded into other products and services the small village of Harrisonburg had never experienced.

Then one day, Uncle Charlie got the chance of a lifetime to go to work for a national business that specialized in farm products.  He was first sent to New Orleans, but later transferred to Memphis.

He and his wife, the former Faye Huff of Harrisonburg, and a distant relative of my mom's Sargent family, both loved it in Memphis.  I actually visited them one time when I was there on business.

They eventually moved back to Louisiana after he retired.  But instead of returning to Catahoula Parish, they decided to live in Pineville.  He continued to live there after Faye and two sons died.

And then it was his turn.

He is survived by a son, Miles, and a daughter, Barbara.

My Aunt Margie called to notify me of his death.  We talked for two hours. It was a good talk that brought back a lot of memories.

After we hung up, I remembered the photos I took of the McMillin Family Reunion back in 2000.  I brought up the old digital photos that were actually stored on old floppy computer disks.  They were still in great shape, so I decided to make a slide video of them.  I made Aunt Margie a CD Disk that will be in the mail tomorrow so she can easily watch it anytime she wants.  I also posted it on YouTube so anyone can watch it or share it with others.  I'll wait until she watches it before I post it on Facebook where I know there will be people who will enjoy seeing those old photos.

Here's the link to the video:  McMillin's of Catahoula Parish Family Reunion

Rest in Peace, Uncle Charlie.

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