School 25


James Richard McMillan

1938 - 2021



KNOXVILLE – James R. McMillan departed this life on Monday, March 22, 2021, after a long illness.  He died peacefully at home with his wife at his side.  Jim was born on September 30, 1938 in Cinco, West Virginia, a small coal-mining town in Kanawha County. After graduating from Parkersburg High School, Jim earned his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati and went to work in research and development at B F Goodrich in Avon Lake, Ohio.  He went on to earn his M.B.A. from Case Western Reserve University and his Ph.D. from Ohio State University with concentrations in Marketing and Statistics, and taught for many years as a professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

          In addition to his academic career, Jim had a diverse, successful, and rewarding consulting career with many different organizations, including regional and local real estate development firms, manufacturers, high tech product developers, medical facilities, restaurants, and the federal government.  After his retirement from the University of Tennessee, Jim and his wife, Penny, owned and managed apartment buildings and automotive businesses, and for a time operated a horseback riding business in the Great Smoky Mountains.

          Jim brought his family to Knoxville and eventually moved to Norris Lake because of the family’s love of the water and water sports, especially water skiing and wind surfing.  In addition to his love of the water and boating, Jim took pleasure in hiking, jogging, target shooting with both guns and bows, and ballroom dancing as part of his lifelong commitment to good health through physical exercise.  Jim also enjoyed RV traveling, taking his family on adventures throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Jim was a skilled player of social and duplicate bridge, an avid gardener who grew the most delicious tomatoes, and although he occasionally enjoyed a good gin martini, he made the best margaritas on the planet.

          Jim was preceded in death by his parents, James Cecil McMillan and Edna Thelneda McMillan, and his sister, Phyllis Moore.  He is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Penny; sons, Tod McMillan (Cheryl) and Greg McMillan (Summer); daughter, Monique Fisher (Mark); grandchildren, Conner Patterson (Dakota), Brynn McMillan, Ian Nagy (Elaine), Danielle Mallery (Matt), Alex Stevens (Jaclyn), Emily Stevens (Harley Gorlewski), and Will Stevens; great-grandchildren, Fable, Noah, Oliver, MacLaren, Marcus, and Milo; sister, Betty Barrett of Parkersburg, WV; and brothers, Dr. Gary McMillan (Lupe) of Paducah, KY and Dr. Paul McMillan (Sylvia) of Holly Springs, NC.

          In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Pulmonary Care Department, Cleveland Clinic, P.O. Box 931517, Cleveland OH 44193-1655 or Messiah Lutheran Church, 6900 Kingston Pike, Knoxville TN 37919.

          Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the McMillan family and invites you to view and sign the online registry.

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Kelsey and Brandon Cox

March 29, 2021 2:48 PM

Penny, we are sorry to hear of the passing of Jim. Brandon and I have many fond memories with him. We will keep you and your family in our thoughts.

Russ Pierce

March 29, 2021 1:06 PM

Penny, sorry to hear about Jim's passing. I have fond memories all of the McMillans. I especially appreciated having another tall guy like Jim to compare height with. You all were always kind to our family. Take care and maybe we'll see you at Messiah when I visit. Russell Pierce, Denver.

William (Bill) S. Denton, Jr. Architect

March 28, 2021 7:00 PM

Penny and Family; Jim was my Big Brother in our fraternity @ Uni. of Cincinnati. I always admired him, his intelligence, 
 kindness and all his personality traits. The Bible has a scripture that states to be absent from the body, you will be present with Our LORD. .I am confident He is present with Our Lord. Although I have not seen Jim in several years, He will always be in my memories, as he was always an inspiration to me in college and many years their after. You will be in my thankfulness prayers for Jim's life and memories. He was a great man. With Brotherly LOVE, Bill Denton 

Bob Woodruff

March 28, 2021 10:13 AM

Penny, We were saddened to read that Jim passed away.  He was a wonderful colleague during our years at UTK, always willing to share ideas and positions on issues of importance to the programs.  Even though we lost tract of each other after Jim left the University, I remember how talented he was and caring.  Please know that you and your family are in our prayers.  Blessings, Bob Woodruff

Nick McCall

March 25, 2021 7:02 PM

Please accept our deepest sympathies and condolences on the loss of a great, memorable and fascinating man. Our prayers  go out to each of you all; peace to you all. -- The McCalls 

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