Robert "Mac" Jackson McMillin of Santa Barbara died August 8, 2013, at age 86.
Bob, known affectionately to his friends as Mac, was born in Steubenville, Ohio, the closest hospital to his parents' home in Toronto, Ohio, on December 1, 1926, to Eunice Elma and Dohrman Wilson McMillin. Baptized in the Christian Church, in Kentucky, he began his education there. At the age of 10, his parents were transferred to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he attended Wauwatosa grade and high schools. His school years were interrupted by World War II, during which he attended Navy schools for electronics training and served at the Treasure Island Fleet Training Center.
Returning to Wisconsin he attended the University of Wisconsin and Marquette University, graduating in 1955 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. While attending college, he began his working career at Taylor Electric Co. and at AC Spark Plug Division of General Motors Corp.
In 1949, he married Dorothy Broadbent and together they raised four children, Merry, Gayle, Jay and Beth. He began his career with General Motors as a technician building test equipment, but was soon transferred to the Test Engineering department. When he achieved his engineering degree, he was transferred to the Product Design department. In 1962, the division was named AC Electronics and he began a long series of consecutive electronic design assignments on the Rascal, Regulus, Titan 11, Thor, Titan III missile and space booster programs.
In 1968, he became head of Manufacturing Engineering, following which he became Associate Program Manager for the Apollo Moon Landing Program. In 1971 he was named Head of Product Design and the unit was merged with Delco Electronics. In 1972 he was relocated to a facility in Santa Barbara.
In 1973, he married Anna Ervin, becoming stepfather to her two children, Patrick and Colleen. In Santa Barbara he was Chief Engineer and contributed to their many programs for the Department of Defense and for commercial entities. These were programs for Space and Missiles, such as Titan 11, 111 and IV, Apollo, Delta and Cassini; Military Avionics, such as the F-16 Fire Control Computer, the Lantirn Computer, the KC 13 5 Inertial System, the AWACS Inertial System etc.; Barking Sands Underwater Range for the Navy and the Glomar Dynamic Positioning System; Armament Programs such as the LAV Turrets, DIVADS Fire Control System and C 13 OU Gunship Fire Control System.
He also introduced some advanced automotive electronics programs and supported the development of the Cadillac Throttle Body Injection System. In 1978, he was transferred to the Division Headquarters in Kokomo, Indiana, where he was Chief Engineer for automotive electronics, managing the design of General Motors Automotive Engine Controllers and ultimately became Director of Engineering for all of Delco Electronics products: Radios, Heating and Air Conditioning Controls, Engine Controls, Semiconductors and Automotive Electronics.
In 1986, General Motors acquired Hughes and Bob became Director of Advanced Engineering at Kokomo until he was transferred back to Santa Barbara in 1987 to head the Santa Barbara Operation until his retirement in 1990.
During his career, he was involved in many professional and civic associations such as the Semiconductor Research Corp., the General Motors Technical Council, the Santa Barbara Industrial Association, the Sansum Medical Research Foundation, the Cosmopolitan Club, the Santa Barbara Club, St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation, Murat Shrine, Boy Scouts and Perseverance Church Session, where he served as member, board member and/or chairman.
He received citations from GM, NASA, MIT and Intermetrics.
Bob was a loving husband, father and grandfather and will be dearly missed by his family and friends. He will be remembered as a driver, as a visionary, and as an organizer, serious and dedicated and always willing to lend a hand, generous and kind.
Preceding him in death was his daughter, Gayle Murel. He is survived by his wife, Anna; his son, Jay McMillin (Cheryl) of Ventura, California; his daughters, Merry Rutkowski (Tom) of Waukesha, Wisconsin, and Beth Mentink (John) of Racine, Wisconsin; son-in-law Michael Murel of North Lake, Wisconsin; stepson Patrick Ervin (LuAnne) of Eagle, Wisconsin; and stepdaughter Colleen Fortune (Randy) of Austin, Texas. He is also survived by his sisters, Barbara Southwell of West Bend, Wisconsin, and Carol Buran of Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Also surviving are 10 grandchildren: Katie, Jeremy and Rori McMillin, Dan and Devon Rutkowski, Nick and Breean Murel, Ryan and Tim Ervin and Colin Fortune, along with cousins Jack in Florida and Jim in Ohio, plus many nephews.
Memorial services were held on August 16, 2013, at El Montecito Presbyterian Church. Arrangements were by Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels.
Donations may be made in Mac's memory to Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care or the charity of your choice.