Joan Marie McMillen

Joan Marie McMillen, age 77, of Olga, passed away peacefully on Feb. 2, 2006 in Monroe, Wash. following a long illness. She died at the home of her granddaughter, with many of her loved ones at her side.

Born Feb. 14, 1928, in her maternal grandparents’ home in Hebron, Indiana, to Hazel (Nichols) and Keith MacMillan, Joan attended Hebron High School and graduated from St. Patrick Girls’ School in Chicago in 1946. In 1948, she graduated from Frances Sullivan School of Beauty Culture. She also attended Cerro Coso Community College in Ridgecrest, Calif.

Joan married William (Bill) McMillen on Sept. 12, 1948 and lived in West Lafayette, Indiana, while Bill attended Purdue University. During this time their son David was born. After Bill’s graduation from Purdue in 1951, they moved to the Warren-Youngstown area of Ohio where they lived for 18 years, and where their son Brian and granddaughter Jennifer were born. In 1968 they moved to Trona, Calif..

Upon retirement in 1990, they moved to Orcas Island, into the house Joan’s father built in the hamlet of Olga while a manager for the Orcas Power and Light Cooperative.

Known simply as “Jo,” to most, and “Garn” or “Gramma Jo” to her growing cadre of great-grandchildren, Joan enjoyed calligraphy, yard “sailing”, collecting stained glass and watching the wondrous variety of wildlife that went by her picture windows that overlooked Puget Sound.

Joan is survived by her husband Bill McMillen, of Olga; son Brian and wife Dawn McMillen, of Trona; granddaughter (whom Joan raised) Jenni and husband Mike Mullin, of Monroe; granddaughter Shelly Benkman of Logandale, Nev.; grandson Billy McMillen of Prescott, Ariz.; grandson Chris McMillen of Trona; granddaughter Kimberly Bays of Trona; and 10 great-grandchildren: Elizabeth Marcum, of Kentucky; Danielle and Jacob Mullin, of Washington; Justice and Cody Benkman, of Nevada; and Emilie and Liah McMillen, and Samuel, Matthew and Logon Bays, of Calif. She is also survived by her sister, Donna Fickle, of Hebron.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her son, David McMillen.

A private service will be held at a later date. The family suggests that donations in Joan’s memory may be made to the hospice of one’s choice, the American Heart Association, or the National Osteoporosis Foundation.