05.09.2016 Obituary for Margaret McMillan

Obituary for Margaret McMillan

Margaret McMillan, 96, of Lafayette, passed away on August 31, 2016 peacefully at a local nursing home surrounded by family.

The funeral service will be held on Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at a 10:00 AM Mass of Christian Burial in La Chapelle de Martin & Castille in Lafayette. Reverend Bryce Sibley, Pastor of Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church, will be the Celebrant of the funeral Mass and will conduct the funeral services. Visitation will be held at Martin & Castille's DOWNTOWN location beginning on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM and will continue on Wednesday from 8:00 AM until time of services. A Rosary will be recited on Tuesday at 7:00 PM. Burial will follow the funeral at Bellevue Memorial Park Cemetery in Opelousas.

Margaret is preceded in death by her parents, John H. McMillan Jr, and Annie Laurie Field McMillan and step mother Aline Estorge McMillan of Gramercy, her brother Dr. John H. McMillan II, DDS and his wife Rose Ewell McMillan and a nephew Dennis Ewell McMillan of Baton Rouge

Margaret never married but was always thought of as the mother of her 4 nephews and niece. She is survived by her nephews, John H. McMillan III and his wife Doreen of Belfast Maine, W. Wikoff McMillan and his wife Nancy of Milton, LA, James A. McMillan of Lafayette, D. Haas McMillan and his wife Cathy of McComb MS, and her niece, Rosa Robin McMillan of Lafayette. The great nephews and nieces, Katherine McMillan Welch and her husband Jake of Orrington, Maine, John H. McMillan IV, Caroline McMillan, William W. McMillan Jr, of Lafayette, Shantelle Prejean of Lafayette. Jessica Dennis McMillan, Sarah Catherine McMillan and David H. (Mac) McMillan Jr of McComb, MS. and one great-great niece Colleen Louise Welch of Orrington Maine.

Pallbearers will be David “Mac” Haas McMillan, Jr., William W. McMillan, Jr., John Henry McMillan, IV, Stuart Averitt, Michael Pears and Terry Crownover.  

Honorary Pallbearers are Terry Dejean, Johnny Ryan, Dr. David Fisher, Dr. Harold Chastant, Coy Tatum, Devin Constantine, Jack Patin and Thom Wynne. 

Margaret was born in Gramercy, LA in 1920. At the age of 2 she began swimming. In 1937, as a member of the Lutcher High School’s girl swim team, she held 11 southern AAU records for the 100 meter breaststroke. She graduated from Lutcher High and continued on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Health, Physical Education and Psychology at SLI (Now UL Lafayette). She received her master degree in Health, Physical Education and Psychology from the University of Texas. In 1937 Margaret was one of the founding members and served as director of the SLI Red Jackets where she was involved with coordinating halftime shows for football games. In 1941, she became advisor and remained in that capacity until 1959. From 1972 to 1976, she was Coordinator of USL Women’s Physical Education Department.

During WWII, Margaret was a Red Cross girl stationed in Miami Florida. After the War, she returned to Lafayette as a professor and the coordinator of women’s physical education and Assistant Dean of Women at UL. She was a Red Cross Instructor Trainer and taught life guarding and swimming at the University and would attend National Aquatic Schools throughout the US. She was a national rated official in basketball, volleyball and tennis.

After retiring from the University in 1976, Margaret entered the world of offshore safety where she founded, McMillan Offshore Survival Technology (MOST). She became internationally recognized as an expert in the field of sea survival technology. Through her efforts, thousands of offshore oil workers, helicopter pilots, government employees, law enforcement officers, corporate executives, barge and dock personnel, power boat operators and air medics have been trained in water survival techniques. She was considered an expert in offshore safety and survival where she served as a consultant for all the branches of the US Armed Forces, British Royal Navy and the Russian Government. She was a founding member of the International Association for Sea Survival Training and was granted an honorary lifetime membership. In 2005, she became the first woman inducted into the Offshore Energy Center Hall of fame in Galveston TX. Margaret has been awarded the US Coast Guard’s Distinguished Service Award, The Distinguished Leadership and Service Award, the Gulf Coast Safety & Training Groups highest award, and the US Marine first Safety Award.

Margaret contributed to the improvements in work vest, life jackets and inflatable life vest. In the late 1980’s, she spear headed the development of the Marine Survival Training Center at UL and served as a consultant for the Center. 

She founded McMillan Swim School in 1962 and for many generations taught numerous children and adults how to swim. 

The family would like to thank the many nurses and aides that cared for Margaret these last few years while a resident at Maison de Lafayette. We are forever grateful to Joy Melancon for the many days of sitting and being a friend to Margaret. The family would like to thank Heart of Hospice for the end of life care that was provided.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the UL Lafayette Foundation, designated to; Margaret McMillan Endowed Scholarship
UL Lafayette Foundation, P. O. Box 44290 Lafayette, LA 70504-4290

View the obituary and guestbook online at www.mourning.com

Martin & Castille - DOWNTOWN, 330 St. Landry Street Lafayette, LA. 70506 337-234-2311