35 years, and Dr. McMillin has gone home

Published 12:03 pm Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wearing a dress MacMillin tartan similar to one his father wore to his graduation from the University of Arkansas in 1971, Dr. Lamar McMillin celebrated the close of his 35-year career during a retirement reception Tuesday at The Street Clinic.

With the orange and yellow MacMillin tartan, or necktie, McMillin celebrated his Scottish heritage as well.

“I started on July 1, 1975, and I’m going to retire on June 30, 2010,” said McMillin. “I feel that’s enough responsibility.”

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McMillin practiced as a family physician with River Region Health System beginning with the Vicksburg Clinic in 1975 and retiring from The Street Clinic.

At the reception, Vance Reynolds, chief executive officer for River Region Medical Center, presented McMillin with a plaque honoring his years of service.

Patients of varying ages, his children’s former baby sitter and River Region staff from hospitals and clinics throughout Vicksburg wished the doctor well in the next chapter of his life.

“It’s kind of a lovely walk down memory lane,” said McMillin’s wife, Carol, as she gazed on the faces of those she has come to know during the doctor’s time at the clinic.

A patient of more than 20 years, Larry Donerson, 57, said McMillin, who consistently solved his problems, was the best doctor he has had.

“I don’t know which way to go as far as a doctor,” said Donerson. “I’m going to miss him.”

Michael Ruffin, vice president of Physician Practices, agreed and added McMillin’s patients enjoy his easy-going demeanor.

“Along with some of the other ones who have been here, he’s given us a lot of stability,” said Ruffin. “People in the community know where this place is, and they know that Dr. McMillin is here. He’s seen generations of patients.”

Ruffin said he enjoyed working with the soon-to-be retiree but hopes McMillin has many years to indulge all of his passions and travel.

“He’s very into his heritage and his past,” said Ruffin.

McMillin, a Little Rock, Ark., native, said he plans to remain in Vicksburg and feed his love of history by studying the Civil War and the Confederacy.

“Some of my relatives were Confederate veterans,” said McMillin. “I’ve never really studied that very well. I want to study it now.”

He plans to play his part in history by renovating a Vicksburg antebellum home he shares with his wife, a retired librarian at Waterways Experiment Station. He can take care of “American history, since it was here since before the siege of Vicksburg,” he said.

Decades ago, McMillin’s aunt Lorene McMillin Mobley, who lived in Vicksburg throughout his childhood and college years, “recruited” him to come to town after he finished his college studies. He often visited her as a child.

He completed his medical residency at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1971.

“I was very pleased that she (Mobley) and her husband, who were from Vicksburg, came all the way to Little Rock for my graduation,” said McMillin.

He did not move south until the summer of 1975, a year after he completed a family practice degree at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. James Allison called to offer him a position at the Vicksburg Clinic.

In the year between, McMillin moved to Scotland with his wife — a “Yankee girl” his aunt warned him not to marry but learned to love — to work in the National Health Service as an extension of his education, he said.

“I wanted to learn about Scotland because that’s where my ancestors came from,” said McMillin. “We signed a contract to come back here and start on July 1.”

In 2008, he saw River Region close the North Frontage Road clinic and move to The Street Clinic on Grove Street.

The father of Ashley McMillin Moomaw, 30, a nutritiounist in Chattanooga; David McMillin 29, an architect in California; and Stephen McMillin, 27, a paralegal in Vicksburg, said he plans to visit his children throughout his retirement.

“They were all born at the Vicksburg hospital, and Dr. Allison delivered them,” said McMillin.