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Find an individual who either played a sport or was a member of a support group. Search by last name by clicking on the first letter of the person's last name.

Ms. Margaret Mary McMillan (Deceased)

111 Leonie St.
Lafayette, La 70506

McMillan Offshore Survival Training
Home Phone:
Work Phone:
In 1937, was one of the founding members of the Red Jackets, serving as director during this period. In 1941, became faculty advisor and remained in that capacity through 1959.

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Obituary: Margaret McMillan - SLI, USL HPE Faculty Member, Aquatics/Survival Pioneer - Aug. 31, 2016

Obituary for Margaret McMillan

Tribute Links Are Included Below

.Tribute Wall
Margaret McMillan, 96, of Lafayette, passed away on August 31, 2016 peacefully at a local nursing home surrounded by family.

The funeral service will be held on Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at a 10:00 AM Mass of Christian Burial in La Chapelle de Martin & Castille in Lafayette. Reverend Bryce Sibley, Pastor of Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church, will be the Celebrant of the funeral Mass and will conduct the funeral services. Visitation will be held at Martin & Castille's DOWNTOWN location beginning on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM and will continue on Wednesday from 8:00 AM until time of services. A Rosary will be recited on Tuesday at 7:00 PM. Burial will follow the funeral at Bellevue Memorial Park Cemetery in Opelousas.

Margaret is preceded in death by her parents, John H. McMillan Jr, and Annie Laurie Field McMillan and step mother Aline Estorge McMillan of Gramercy, her brother Dr. John H. McMillan II, DDS and his wife Rose Ewell McMillan and a nephew Dennis Ewell McMillan of Baton Rouge

Margaret never married but was always thought of as the mother of her 4 nephews and niece. She is survived by her nephews, John H. McMillan III and his wife Doreen of Belfast Maine, W. Wikoff McMillan and his wife Nancy of Milton, LA, James A. McMillan of Lafayette, D. Haas McMillan and his wife Cathy of McComb MS, and her niece, Rosa Robin McMillan of Lafayette. The great nephews and nieces, Katherine McMillan Welch and her husband Jake of Orrington, Maine, John H. McMillan IV, Caroline McMillan, William W. McMillan Jr, of Lafayette, Shantelle Prejean of Lafayette. Jessica Dennis McMillan, Sarah Catherine McMillan and David H. (Mac) McMillan Jr of McComb, MS. and one great-great niece Colleen Louise Welch of Orrington Maine.

Pallbearers will be David “Mac” Haas McMillan, Jr., William W. McMillan, Jr., John Henry McMillan, IV, Stuart Averitt, Michael Pears and Terry Crownover.

Honorary Pallbearers are Terry Dejean, Johnny Ryan, Dr. David Fisher, Dr. Harold Chastant, Coy Tatum, Devin Constantine, Jack Patin and Thom Wynne.

Margaret was born in Gramercy, LA in 1920. At the age of 2 she began swimming. In 1937, as a member of the Lutcher High School’s girl swim team, she held 11 southern AAU records for the 100 meter breaststroke. She graduated from Lutcher High and continued on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Health, Physical Education and Psychology at SLI (Now UL Lafayette). She received her master degree in Health, Physical Education and Psychology from the University of Texas. In 1937 Margaret was one of the founding members and served as director of the SLI Red Jackets where she was involved with coordinating halftime shows for football games. In 1941, she became advisor and remained in that capacity until 1959. From 1972 to 1976, she was Coordinator of USL Women’s Physical Education Department.

During WWII, Margaret was a Red Cross girl stationed in Miami Florida. After the War, she returned to Lafayette as a professor and the coordinator of women’s physical education and Assistant Dean of Women at UL. She was a Red Cross Instructor Trainer and taught life guarding and swimming at the University and would attend National Aquatic Schools throughout the US. She was a national rated official in basketball, volleyball and tennis.

After retiring from the University in 1976, Margaret entered the world of offshore safety where she founded, McMillan Offshore Survival Technology (MOST). She became internationally recognized as an expert in the field of sea survival technology. Through her efforts, thousands of offshore oil workers, helicopter pilots, government employees, law enforcement officers, corporate executives, barge and dock personnel, power boat operators and air medics have been trained in water survival techniques. She was considered an expert in offshore safety and survival where she served as a consultant for all the branches of the US Armed Forces, British Royal Navy and the Russian Government. She was a founding member of the International Association for Sea Survival Training and was granted an honorary lifetime membership. In 2005, she became the first woman inducted into the Offshore Energy Center Hall of fame in Galveston TX. Margaret has been awarded the US Coast Guard’s Distinguished Service Award, The Distinguished Leadership and Service Award, the Gulf Coast Safety & Training Groups highest award, and the US Marine first Safety Award.

Margaret contributed to the improvements in work vest, life jackets and inflatable life vest. In the late 1980’s, she spear headed the development of the Marine Survival Training Center at UL and served as a consultant for the Center.

She founded McMillan Swim School in 1962 and for many generations taught numerous children and adults how to swim.

The family would like to thank the many nurses and aides that cared for Margaret these last few years while a resident at Maison de Lafayette. We are forever grateful to Joy Melancon for the many days of sitting and being a friend to Margaret. The family would like to thank Heart of Hospice for the end of life care that was provided.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the UL Lafayette Foundation, designated to; Margaret McMillan Endowed Scholarship
UL Lafayette Foundation, P. O. Box 44290 Lafayette, LA 70504-4290

View the obituary and guestbook online at www.mourning.com

Martin & Castille - DOWNTOWN, 330 St. Landry Street Lafayette, LA. 70506 337-234-2311

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Margaret McMillan please visit our Sympathy Store.

Athletic Network Footnote by Ed Dugas, former student, colleague, and friend.
My son Paul developed a friendship with Margaret which began when he took swimming lessons with her as a pre-schooler.
He became a close confidant, her attorney, and close life-long friends with Hayes, her nephew.

Please click here for her Athletic Network profile. It contains many of the publications about her extensive off-shore survival leadership initiatives. her aquatics accomplishments, and her gift to the university.

Click here for one of her 1938 cheerleader photos.

Click here for the Red Jackets at their 2004 Homecoming Reunion.

Margaret was a leader in every aspect of her being. She loved her family dearly, held her friends close, and worked tirelessly on the areas for which she had a passion - mainly, saving lives in the oil industry as off-shore became the center of the work-place.
Her effectiveness as an educator in the aquatics area is monumental and her influence will be felt for quite some time. I was blessed and honored to have our paths cross during my life.

Click here for Tribute Video, Tribute Wall, and Life Tributes.

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Red Jacket & Cheerleader: Students, friends celebrate swim teacher's career

June 30, 2006 - Instructor has taught more than she can count in past 75 years

Alexandria Burris

Margaret McMillian got the surprise of her life when she stepped outside her house Thursday evening.
Her friends, family, employees and clients gathered in her backyard for a surprise celebration of the end of her 75-year career as a swim teacher.

For most of the day, McMillian, 85, remained oblivious to the planning, organizing and the flow of human traffic moving around her home.

Friends and family placed bowls of tortilla chips and salsa on tables as cars parked in lots across the street.
"I'm totally speechless," McMillian said after stepping outside and seeing the crowd of loved ones in her backyard. "Oh, this is something else. I just don't know what to say."

McMillian's career spans more than seven decades, during which time she has had more students than she said she could count.

McMillian said she began her career as an 11-year-old in Gramercy and eventually turned to competitive swimming, to which she attributes her love of swimming.

Jackie Lyle, McMillian's friend, said her influence spans beyond the lives of children learning to swim in her backyard pool.

McMillian jump-started the program that would become UL's Marine Survival Training Center, Lyle said.

"She can truly be credited with saving the lives of people all over the world," Lyle said.

McMillian's surprise did not end at the party.

Dave McAllister and his mother, Glenda McAllister, presented McMillian with a gold medal from the Special Olympics and a packet of photos.

"I wanted to write and let you know how much I appreciate you," Glenda McAllister told her.

McMillian accepted Dave McAllister, 33, as a student when most shut the door on him because he has Down syndrome, Glenda McAllister said.

The swimming lessons from McMillian paid off, she said. Dave McAllister is the first special education student to swim for the Lafayette High School swim team.

McMillian's lessons took Dave McAllister to the 1983, 1991 and 1999 Special Olympic Games, Glenda McAllister said.

Even though the party was to celebrate the end of her career, McMillian said she is not going to end it just yet.

"I know I'm going to continue next year, because the kids who work for me want to continue," she said.

Originally published June 30, 2006

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Red Jackets: 31 women you need to know

March 02, 2006 -

March is Women's History Month. On each day of the month, The Daily Advertiser will feature a woman who is changing the history of our community.
Name: Margaret McMillan

Bio: McMillan learned to swim at age 2 and began teaching swimming when she was 11. Her career as a swimming teacher has spanned nearly 75 years.

In 2005, she became the first woman to be inducted into the Offshore Energy Center Hall of Fame in Houston because of her pioneering efforts in the field of offshore safety. McMillan founded McMillan Offshore Survival Technology and was the guiding force for the University of Louisiana's Marine Survival Training Center. She also is the founder of the International Association for Safety and Survival Training and recently was named the honorary lifetime chairman of the Gulf Coast Safety and Training Association.
In her own words: "I don't ever remember being afraid of water in my life. It was fun and games."

To nominate a woman for this feature, send an e-mail to agarrett@theadvertiser.com

Originally published March 2, 2006

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2theadvocate > Suburban and State > Lafayette woman praised for offshore safety work 11/01/04

Lafayette woman praised for offshore safety work

She's 1st woman to be inducted into hall of fame

Special to The Advocate

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK
Margaret McMillan of Lafayette was recently inducted into the Offshore Energy Hall of Fame for pioneering work in the development of an offshore survival program and the eventual development of the Marine Survival Training Center in Lafayette.
LAFAYETTE -- Margaret McMillan's October induction into the Offshore Energy Center Hall of Fame in Houston as a "technology pioneer" marked the first time a woman has been accorded the organization's top honor.
Cited for her contributions to the offshore industry in "Offshore Safety and Survival Training," the Lafayette native is in renowned company.

Previous honorees include oil industry legends such as firefighter Paul N. "Red" Adair and Billy Pugh, inventor of the helicopter rescue safety net.

Whether offshore, or in the classroom, McMillan is at home wherever there is water.

"I started teaching swimming when I was eleven at a pool in Gramercy," said the St. James Parish native. "That was 74 years ago."

In 1937, as a member of the Lutcher High School girls' swim team, McMillan held 11 Southern AAU records for the 100-meter breaststroke. She has been challenging records ever since.

McMillan and her brother, the late Dr. John Henry McMillan Jr. of Baton Rouge, had little choice but to take swimming lessons. Their father insisted upon their participation in aquatics as well as other athletic endeavors.

At age 15, McMillan attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and later earned a degree in 1940 in physical education.

McMillan also earned a master's degrees from the University of Texas in psychology, and health and physical education.

She joined the American Red Cross when World War II erupted.

She then returned to SLI as a professor and the assistant dean of women, tasked with the development and oversight of the "Marine Survival Training Center."

McMillan is also credited with being a founding member of the "Red Jackets," a women's organization developed to support the school's athletic programs.

It has been almost three decades since Lafayette honored her by proclaiming "Margaret McMillan Day" on Dec. 6, 1977.

City officials, ULL faculty, former students, family and friends gathered that day to highlight her commitment to ULL and the community.

Dropping her name into conversations around Acadiana today still elicits enthusiasm.

McMillan took an early retirement in the 1970s to enter the world of the offshore industry.

"I was definitely a different kind of person to appear in this field," recalls McMillan. "It was a male-dominated field."

When the Red Cross had asked her to develop training, it was obvious that the traditional emphasis had been placed solely on in-water survival training.

"In the offshore industry, men work on platforms, crew boats, in helicopters and on mobile offshore drilling rigs," said McMillan. "There are all kinds of different configurations to consider. We developed programs that used the available safety equipment and latest technology to emphasize what to do to stay out of the water."

Her company, McMillan Offshore Survival Technology (MOST), soon catapulted her into the international field of survival training and technology. She is credited by her peers with filling an early critical niche in the offshore industry.

In research to form her company, she consulted with all branches of the U.S. armed forces and the British Royal Navy. The Soviet government soon began consulting with McMillan.

McMillan says she started her company to accommodate offshore companies begging for training resources. Also, in the 1970s, neither the Coast Guard nor the FAA required the industry to incorporate survival training as part of their on-the-job curriculum.

Fires, explosions and hurricanes hundreds of miles out in the Gulf of Mexico necessitate emergency evacuation of personnel. A combination of helicopter and sea crafts is used to evacuate drilling platforms under less than optimum conditions. Offshore fatalities were commonplace, forcing the industry to seek not only teachers, but people to train personnel to think instinctively during marine emergencies.

Though basic swimming skills are necessary, McMillan says that survival training stresses critical training in advanced techniques for underwater escape, helicopter egress, inland water survival and crisis management. There is also an important leadership component.

"When you are working with untrained people, panic is a reality," said McMillan. "You have two types of people, those who panic and those who stay cool, calm and collected. You have to know instinctively which one to follow in an emergency."

The emphasis on making the right decision quickly is often the only difference between rescue and tragedy.

In 1992, McMillan gave her company to ULL and agreed to remain as a consultant for many years.

McMillan boasts that three of her nephews, all graduates of Catholic High in Baton Rouge, followed her into the safety business.

Haas McMillan is Director of Safety and Training at Survival Systems Inc. in New Orleans and Wikoff McMillan is the Safety Director of Aries Marine in Youngsville.

John McMillan is now president of McMillan Offshore Survival Training in Belfast, Maine. There, the cold waters off the northeastern coastline makes a difference in the type of training offered by his company.

"Up here, it's the commercial fishing industry that largely determines our training curriculum," he said.

The survival training industry is constantly evolving, noted Margaret McMillan. Today, the Coast Guard might be pulled off a rescue attempt for a homeland security event, a new priority since the events of 9-11.

Family members and longtime friends accompanied her to the recent induction ceremonies in Houston. Among them was Corinne Randazzo, a former ULL "Red Jacket" member and student of McMillan.

"Webster's doesn't have enough words to describe the honor that was given to her," she stated. "This recognition among her peers in this industry has been long in coming."

"What can I say," says McMillan. "It was wonderful to have all of these special people join me on this occasion. Being recognized as a leader by your peers and being the first woman to get this honor was one of the most exciting highlights of my life."

Permanent recognition of Margaret McMillan's role in the offshore safety and survival industry is now on display at the Offshore Energy Services "Ocean Star" Museum in Galveston, Texas.

The development of an endowed scholarship fund in her name has been established by Mr. and Mrs. John Ryan and Tony Accardo.

For information about the fund, contact the Office of Development at ULL at (337) 482-0922.

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Local woman making waves
McMillan receives honor previously awarded only to men
Jordan Hernandez

October 29, 2004

LAFAYETTE - Despite the numerous accolades she's received in her nearly 85 years, longtime Lafayette resident Margaret McMillan said hearing "thanks" from someone who received her survival training is the most rewarding thing for her.

Considering she's trained more than 60,000 people in marine safety and survival, thats quite a few times she heard "thanks."

Those efforts in marine safety training, including the development of the University of Louisiana's Marine Survival Training Center, got her inducted recently into the Offshore Energy Center's Hall of Fame in Galveston, Texas.

She is the first woman inducted into the hall of fame, and was the third honoree inducted under the health, safety and environment category behind firefighter Red Adair and Billy Pugh, she said.

"I was floating on cloud nine," she said of the induction ceremony. "I couldn't believe it was happening. So many of my friends were there."

Being the first woman in that hall of fame didn't seem strange, though. She's been one of the only women in a male-dominated industry for a long time, she said.

"I was an oddball in a man's world," she said, "but I was never met with a negative attitude from anyone in the petroleum industry because I was a woman."

The training center was the first of its kind and probably about 30 years ahead of its time, she said, and it has become a vital part of the petroleum industry.

"I think they recognize what it has done for them," McMillan said of the oil companies. "When you save a life, you save a lot of dollars, too. Back then, it was nothing for a helicopter to go down and we'd lose 20-something guys. There had to be something done to train them on what to do when they're in the water."

She also has served as a delegate to many international safety organizations. That work eventually spawned another 80 similar training centers in 38 countries.

Several private companies have also started training centers as for-profit entities, but her intentions were not about money, she said.

"This was not a money-making thing - it was a life-saving thing," she said.

All of the work has culminated into a recent endowed scholarship at UL in McMillan's name. The scholarship is still in the process of being established, but she plans for the money to be used for the training center, saying that it's needed in more of the community, and not just in the petroleum industry.

"Kids need this training," she said. "This kind of training is for anyone that works, travels or plays over water. It's so important to know what you need to do in the event of an emergency."

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The Lafayette Daily Advertiser
October 29, 2004

Ms. McMillan was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Offshore Saftey &
Survival Travel (October, 2004) as the first female honoree at a gala event in Houston last weekend.
See page two of this publication.

Cheerleaders:  1937, 1938, 1939, 1940
Red Jackets:  1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959
University Faculty/Staff (current & former):  1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977