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.