Gary Allen “Mac” McMillan, age 49, of Suwanee, GA, passed suddenly on April 25, 2019 while doing what he loved: winning on the tennis court.
Visitation will be at Bill Head Funeral Home, Duluth Chapel, on Tuesday, April 30th from 6:00 -8:00 p.m. A memorial service in celebration of Mac’s life will be held at Bill Head Funeral Home, Duluth Chapel, on Wednesday, May 1st, at 12:00 p.m., followed by an escorted procession to Georgia National Cemetery in Canton for the funeral service at 3:00 p.m. Mac’s family will welcome friends at the Chattahoochee Run & Point Clubhouse in Suwanee following the service.
A loving and generous father, husband and son; a proud war veteran; and devoted friend to so many, Mac had a passion for life, a contagious smile, and a huge heart for those he loved. Everyone has a funny story to share about Mac; his memory will forever make us smile and laugh – which is exactly what he would have wanted.
Mac was born on January 14, 1970 in Bremerton, Washington. Mac’s competitive streak started early, learning to play spades with his mom when he was only 3 years old. Mac was a military brat, but called Hanau, Germany home, where he lived most of his high school years. He played baseball, tennis and golf. No surprise, his baseball teammates called him Mr. Hustle. Mac also dedicated many years to scouting, earning the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout. Mac and his family returned to the states during his senior year and he graduated from L.D. Bell High School in Hurst, Texas in 1988.
Mac loved his country, and, following in his father’s footsteps, he joined the army in 1989. He was trained as helicopter mechanic. He was selected to join the 160th Special Operations regiment and served in the 160th as Crew Chief on an MH/AH-6M “Little Birds” for six years, flying combat missions in Desert Storm. Every pilot in the unit said they knew if Mac had worked on their chopper; they never had to go back and check behind him – they knew it was perfect.
Mac always said he wanted to marry a green-eyed girl… and he met Shannon in Nashville in September 1991. She said he was handsome, sweet and shy. She tried to blow him off, but fortunately, he was also persistent and they got married only about a year later on September 19, 1992. He was her knight in shining armor.
Mac left the 160th and transferred to the 3rd Armored Division, based in Hanau, Germany, where he grew up, excelling as a helicopter crew chief. Mac and Shannon lived in Hanau for 2 ½ years and made amazing, life-long friends and memories; they both recall it fondly as one of the best experiences of their lives. Mac’s last assignment was in military intelligence in Kuwait as a systems operator in J-STARS.
Mac achieved the rank of Sergeant during his 11 years of service. During his military career, he proudly earned an Army Commendation medal, the Army Achievement Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, an Overseas Service Ribbon, two Army Good Conduct Medals, a Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon and the Expert Marksmanship Qualification badge.
Mac loved the military but was ready to settle in one place to raise a family. Mac and Shannon’s first daughter, Taylor Madison, was born in 1997, and Mac rejoined civilian life when Taylor was about a year old. Mac and Shannon moved to Suwanee, Georgia, and soon chose their beloved Chattahoochee Run & Point community to grow and raise their family. Callie Jordan completed their family in 2003.
Mac began his civilian career with Power-Tel, which eventually became T-Mobile. He continued his career in operations and customer service leadership roles in the communications and technology fields. Like his reputation as a stellar helicopter mechanic, Mac was known by colleagues for getting things done and doing it right.
Mac was larger than life. He worked hard and played even harder. His passions were his three girls, his family and friends, sports of any kind, his Dallas Cowboys, Miller Light and Jimmy Buffet (we think in that order). Mac coached Taylor and Callie’s sports teams when they young, and as they got older, loved cheering them on as they played. Mac especially loved tennis. If he wasn’t playing himself, you could find him at one of Callie’s matches or cheering on and heckling his friends on the Chattahoochee Run courts – with no shortage of opinions on line calls! Mac and his family attended and served at 12 Stone Church in Duluth.
Mac left an indelible mark on everyone who knew him. Most of his friends remember the moment they first met him – because he was just that kind of person. Mac brought fun everywhere he went. All the kids adored Mr. Mac – and he loved them. If you saw him at the neighborhood pool, you could almost guarantee a little one (or five) would be close by, hanging on him in the water – waiting for their turn to be held, chased or thrown. We can all still hear Mac laughing; he lived big and loved hard. Everyone Mac touched is better for having known him. The world has lost a wonderful man who leaves behind an amazing legacy.
Mac is lovingly remembered and survived by his wife, Shannon Gowen McMillan; daughters, Taylor Madison and Callie Jordan; mother and father, Betty and Mac McMillan; sister, Karie Ann Pearson and brother-in-law, John Pearson; sister, Amy Zamarripa and brother-in-law, Michael Zamarripa; 5 aunts and 3 uncles; 13 nieces and nephews; 9 cousins; many friends; and his extended Chattahoochee Run & Point family.
Deuce, Mac – we love you immensely.
Arrangements by Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Duluth Chapel, (770) 476-2535.