Ralph Victor MacMillan, physician, has left us and our world on January 27, 2024. He is survived by his loving wife, Allison, three children, Kim MacMillan (Scott Naurath), Scott MacMillan (Carolyn “Jake” MacMillan) and Melanie Rodgers (Scott Rodgers), six grandchildren, Thomas (Jennifer), Rachel, Ran (Becky), Becca, Tori (Josh) and Jake (Cara), and two great-grandchildren, Owen and Natalie. He is preceded in death by his father, Clarence MacMillan, and his mother, Edna McKinnon MacMillan and survived by his wonderful brother, Harold MacMillan.
Ralph grew up in Ontario Canada and attended elementary school in a one room schoolhouse in rural Glengarry County. An eager student, he skipped a grade or two in that small schoolhouse and went on to attend The University of Guelph, graduating in 1954. He became a reporter for The Ottawa Journal until his inquisitive mind took him to the University of Toronto’s Medical School, completing the program in 1960.
During his many years of schooling, he found time to pursue another passion – music. He played the piano in his high school orchestra and, from time to time, was called upon to play the national anthem at the school’s assembly if a student would misplace their music. He also participated in the University of Toronto School of Medicine’s band where he played the violin. His love of music would continue through his life and was displayed at his children’s weddings where he composed a song for each of them.
His first medical practice was established in Mississauga, Ontario but in 1978 he made the big decision to move his family to Richmond, VA to open an office on Grove Avenue where he would serve our community for many years.
Ralph and Allison traveled extensively over the years, so when he sold his practice in 2001 it was only natural that he would plan an adventure! He secured a locum in New Zealand and, while their local physician was on leave for 5 months, he stepped in and offered care for the Maori people. Upon his return, Ralph began volunteering at Cross Over Ministries Clinic and the High Blood Pressure Center. His thirst for knowledge led him to obtain a certification in family medicine and was awarded a fellowship. He found great pleasure working with the blind community and even served as President of Burkeville Lodge for the Blind. His last official post was working for Clinical Research Partners from which he retired in 2019.
Throughout his career, Ralph was known as a gifted physician and an excellent diagnostician who enjoyed caring for people from all walks of life. His house calls (yes, I said house calls!) took him all over town, at all times of night, caring for homebound and fragile patients. Whether in their homes or at his office, he took time with each person to make sure he answered all of their questions and completed each form they presented. It is rumored that, before signing a doctor’s note to verify an elderly patient’s ability to drive a car, he escorted them out the back door of his office to take a quick ride around the block to assess their aptitude behind the wheel!
For those without insurance or an ability to pay, he would accept flowers, cakes, or bags of onions with gratitude, and he sent a thank you note every single time. No one was denied his listening ear, his healing hands, or his tender heart.
As for his family, he will be remembered for his incredible piano playing – specifically for his personal rendition of Mary Poppins’ “Feed the Birds”, his love of history, his elegance on the ski slopes, his “punny” sense of humor, and his ability to talk knowledgably on any subject. For us he will forever be known as “The Poppa” and we will miss him every day.
A celebration of his life will be held on Friday, February 9th at 10am at Reveille United Methodist Church and a reception will follow at Meadowbrook Country Club. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Crossover Healthcare Ministry. In his own words: https://youtu.be/7ViBTCKH9zM?si=Xrq-H5dcA9iGATe7