OBITUARY: Harold McMillan

March 13, 2021
By Marcy Shortuse

Harold Floyd McMillan died Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Englewood, Florida, at the age of 96. He was born October 28, 1924, in Lawrence County, Alabama, to Dee Floyd McMillan and Nona Sivley McMillan. He was predeceased by his parents, his sister, Sibyl Watson, and his wife, Vera Montyne Day McMillan. Harold was a native of Huntsville, Alabama, where his ancestor Jacob Sivley joined John Hunt and other Revolutionary War veterans in 1805 to found the city.

A veteran of World War II, Harold served honorably as a combat infantryman in the US Army 34th Infantry Division, in North Africa and Italy—participating in some of the war’s toughest battles at Monte Casino and Anzio Beach. Harold was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for bravery, two Purple Hearts, three Presidential Unit Citation badges, and a four-starred Campaign Ribbon.

Following his marriage to Montyne Day in 1948, Harold graduated from Auburn University in 1949. In 1955, he began his career with the U.S. Army Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville – what ultimately became NASA in 1958. Harold worked on the first manned spaceflight programs, Projects Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, retiring from NASA in 1981. He was employed by the United Technologies Corporation from 1982 to 1990.

Harold enjoyed recalling memories of the many friends he made in the Monte Sano Mountain community in Huntsville. As “Coach McMillan,” he is still fondly remembered by the many men he coached as boys in Little League and Babe Ruth baseball programs on the Mountain. He was a member of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, a founding member of the Huntsville Exchange Club (1958), and a lifelong member of the Methodist Church. Harold was an avid golfer well into his 80s. He lived his final years in Hampton Cove, Alabama, where he had wonderful, caring neighbors, and in Englewood, Florida.

He is survived by his daughter Deborah McMillan Berzins and husband George D. Berzins; daughter Jacquelyn McMillan Cissell and husband Michael Cissell; son Dr. Michael H. McMillan, DMD and wife Staci Lee McMillan; and grandson Alexander Ludvigs McMillan Berzins and wife Jane Lu Berzins.

Services for Harold McMillan will be held in Huntsville, Alabama, at a later date when family and friends will be able to gather together again.