The Coldwater community was stunned early Saturday morning of last week when it was learned that Major Joe A. McMillen, son of Mrs. Garth McMillen of Coldwater, had died unexpectedly in the Air Force Hospital at Montgomery Ala., where he was stationed.
He took sick about 4:30 a.m. and was taken to the hospital, where he died an hour later, the result of a heart attack. He had a pain in his chest for the first time a few days before hand and planned on having a check-up soon.
His mother and his brother, Hobart McMillen, of this city, went to Wichita Monday and there took a plane to Atlanta, Ga., where they were met by automobile and taken to Montgomery for the funeral services, which were held Tuesday afternoon, April 3, at 2 o'clock in the base chapel. Major McMillen's body was taken to Orlando, Fla., where it was laid to rest with military honors.
He is survived by his wife and four children of Montgomery, Ala., his mother, Mrs. Garth McMillen, and a brother, Hobart McMillen, of Coldwater, Kans.; a sister, Mrs. Marjorie Jorgensen, of Roswell, New Mexico; a brother, Harley McMillen, of El Dorado, Kans., and a brother, Gene McMillen, of Elverta, Calif. His father and one brother, M. B. McMillen, preceded him in death.
Joseph McMillen, son of Garth and Mae McMillen, was born July 4, 1917, in Leroy, Kans., and came with his parents to Coldwater in 1920, entering Coldwater high school as a Freshman that year. He was graduated from C. H. S. in 1933 at the age of 16 and later joined the Navy. For four years he served as a radioman on the U.S.S. California.
After serving his enlistment Joe entered Kansas State College, Manhattan, and completed two years of Business Administration before entering Kansas University. He lacked only four months of receiving his degree when he enlisted in the Army Air Force in January, 1942, about a month after the Pearl Harbor attack. After his basic and preflight training he transferred to Oxnard, Calif., and began his training as a pilot. He received his wings and commission as second lieutenant at Roswell, N. M., in September, 1942.
Joe was sent to the Far East and was a pilot on 48 missions during 325 combat hours but was never shot down. He was awarded the Air medal, seven Asiatic campaign stars and the Philippine Liberation ribbon.
After two years overseas he was returned to Elgin Field Fla., where he was an instructor and was selected as an instructor at Yale University, where he taught Military Tactics two years. He was assigned to the Philippines two years and two years ago returned to Maxwell Field, Montgomery, Ala., where he was an instructor in the Staff and Command School.
He would have retired from the service had he served one more year. At the time of his death he was 38 years, 8 months and 27 days of age.
The sorrowing relatives have the sympathy of the entire community.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!
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