Leo John McMillan, 91 passed away peacefully at his Sonoma home on March 23, 2021 with his wife and family by his side. He was born to John and Evelyn McMillan in Eureka, California. At the age of 7, he, along with his parents and siblings - Mary Francis, Patrick, Kathleen, and Joseph, moved to San Francisco, where he set down his roots. However, summers spent back on the family ranch in Table Bluff contributed to his love for land, farming, and family - which he would return to in his retirement years. In San Francisco, he attended Corpus Christie Elementary school, Saint Ignatius High School for 2 years, and graduated from Balboa High School in 1948, where he was a member of the track team, cheer squad, and Student Body President.
In 1957, Leo married his wife Joann and they settled in Daly City. He then went through the San Francisco Electrical Apprenticeship program and soon joined his brother Patrick in running McMillan Bros. Electric, one of the most successful electrical contracting firms in the city. He was also the owner, President, and CEO of McMillan Technology, Inc., a security systems integrator also headquartered in San Francisco until he retired in 2000.
Leo was highly involved with the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and its local San Francisco chapter. He served as president of the San Francisco Electrical Contractors Association (SFECA) from 1995-1998 and was a member of several national NECA committees. He received many honors and accolades during his tenure including the Coggeshall Award, the 9th District Contractor of the Year Award, the Board of Directors Service Award and the Aldo P. Lera Silver Cup Award.
His lifelong dedication to his Catholic faith started as an altar boy and continued with his involvement in his community churches. He helped found St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Daly City, where he was a regular in the Sunday singing group. He also led Family of God groups with his wife, was a Eucharistic minister and was a part of the San Francisco Cursillo Movement. In Sonoma, he continued service as a Eucharistic minister for St. Francis Solano Church, providing communion to people unable to attend Sunday mass within the community.
Leo was an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous for well over 60 years. He mentored countless people in the 12-Step Program from San Francisco to Sonoma and beyond.
He was instrumental in creating numerous programs throughout San Francisco that aided individuals in finding medical assistance, housing and recovery from their addictions. He served as Board President of the Henry Ohlhoff House in San Francisco, a long-term residential treatment program for adult men. He also co-founded the nonprofit Community Awareness & Treatment Services (CATS) in 1978, now known as Community Forward SF.
The McMillan Drop-In Center—a place for the homeless to take a break from the streets of San Francisco—was named in his honor. Through his commitment and compassion to help others, July 24, 2008 was declared LEO McMILLAN DAY in San Francisco.
When Leo wasn’t helping others or overseeing his companies, he was running. He ran the Bay to Breakers race four times, and completed numerous marathons including London, New York City, Boston, San Francisco and Oakland. His best time was 3 hours and 9 minutes.
Not only was he a 49’er Faithful, but he delighted in the SF Giants and Warriors as well. He enriched his life with a variety of activities including scuba diving, earning a private pilot’s license, and organic farming. He was also a regular on the golf course and bocce court. His passion for music was expressed through his singing, piano, guitar and harmonica playing. He loved farming his land, riding his tractor, gathering firewood, reading, traveling with his wife, camping with his family, barn parties, and vanilla ice cream topped with strawberries and “goboons” of whip cream. Leo was proud of the home he and Joann built in Sonoma some 40 years ago; rural life suited him well in his golden years.
Leo is survived by his wife of 64 years, Joann and his five children: Sally (Anthony) Fernandez, Alice (Michael) Schimm, Catherine (Michael) Barbagelata, Jennifer (Todd) Renard, and John (Jody) McMillan. He was the proud grandpa of Thomas, Michael, Jessica, Andrew, Bobby, Max, Ellen, Alyssa, Evelyne, Jackson, Lily, Emma, David, Derek, and Darin. Leo is survived by his sisters-in-law Charlotte McMillan and Dolores Brand, as well as numerous nieces and nephews from California to Michigan.
An outdoor mass celebrating Leo will be held at St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Sonoma on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 10:00AM. All are welcome to this single event; Covid protocols will be observed. A YouTube channel live stream will also be available at stleosonoma.org
The family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to Vintage Home-Care of Sonoma and Hospice by the Bay for their exceptional care and compassion.
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