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Alan E. MacMillan


Alan Earl MacMillan, 85, formerly of Ipswich, retired railroad construction engineer, died January 1, 2008, in Houston, Texas, after suffering a stroke October 5, 2007.

Born in Cambridge, April 23, 1922, he was the son of Earl Burton MacMillan of New York City and Mabel Paxton Cooke of Shipston-on-Stour, England.

A veteran of World War II, Mr. MacMillan served in the U.S. Army Railway Operating Battalion in North Africa and the U.S. Army infantry in Italy. He met his wife of 55 years, Doris McGraw, on the troop ship SS Santa Paula, while traveling in a convoy of 800 ships from the U.S. to North Africa in 1943. She was a postal clerk in the U.S. Army. They were married in Cairo, Ga., in September 1945, following the war.

A 1949 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., Mr. MacMillan had worked for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in Baltimore, Md. and Clarksburg, W.Va. He then worked for the Chicago Great Western Railway in Oelwein, Iowa. In 1954, he moved his family to Ipswich and began working for the Boston & Maine Railroad, from which he retired as senior engineer of special projects in October 1981. As assistant division engineer, he was in charge of the construction of the new railroad tunnel under downtown Salem in 1955 and 1956. From 1977 to his retirement, Mr. MacMillan was the liaison officer between the B&M and the MBTA for the construction of the Red Line extension to Alewife, which passed under the B&M at Porter Square, Cambridge. After retirement, he and his wife moved to Haines City, Fla. Following his wife’s death in 2000, Mr. MacMillan moved to Houston, Texas, to live with his youngest daughter, Margaret and her family.

He was an active member of the First and South Congregational Church of Ipswich for 27 years and the Beyer Memorial United Methodist Church in Winter Haven, Fla., for 20 years. He was active in the Masonic Order in both locations.

Mr. MacMillan is survived by one sister, Barbara Cornwell of Warren, R.I.; two sons, Alan Jr. of Rockport and David MacMillan of Mesa, Ariz.; three daughters, Julia Kline of Naperville, Ill., Elizabeth MacMillan of Manchester, Ky. and Margaret Sanchez of Houston, Texas; 10 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

A memorial service will be held in the First Congregational Church in Ipswich at a time and date to be announced, followed by interment with military honors in the Cowles Memorial Cemetery, Ipswich. Arrangements are by the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich.



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