Ruth  MacMillian

Obituary of Ruth Irene MacMillian

Ruth Irene MacMillan

January 5, 1925- January 22, 2024


Ruth Irene MacMillan, 99, gently slipped from this world into the next on January 22. Her family was by her side.


Irene,as she was known to her friends and family, was a 24-year resident of the Samarkand in Santa Barbara. Her early years, however, were spent in much more humble circumstances. Born in 1925 to David Franklin and Henrietta Ann (nee Duncan) Trembly in Hugoton Kansas, Irene was the seventh of 12 children. Her father was a farmer, and they moved frequently in search of new opportunities during the Great Depression. These moves included New Mexico, through the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma, and eventually to Colorado, where she graduated high school in Manzanola.


Following high school, Irene worked as a clerk/typist at La Junta Army Air Force Base and she was later recruited by the local Superintendent of Schools to work as his secretary. It was there she was encouraged to become a teacher and Irene worked to be able to fund her own education, In 1949, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pasadena Nazarene College (now Point Loma Nazarene in San Diego), and she then taught second grade in the El Monte School District for 13 years.


It was during this time that Irene met the love of her life, Stuart MacMillan, in a singles group at Hollywood Presbyterian Church. They met at a bowling alley and, two years later, the pair rolled into the union of holy matrimony in 1967. Following the wedding, they purchased a home in Lancaster, CA, as Stuart was already working for General Electric at Edwards Air Force Base. Irene continued her work as a teacher, teaching Kindergarten for 16 years, sometimes guiding as many as 42 students in her classroom at the same time. After she retired in 1979, Irene earned her Masters Degree in Education from the University of Redlands. Her thesis focused on building a writing program for kindergarten students.


Even after retirement and their move to Santa Barbara, Irene continued to work as a volunteer. She and Stuart were busy at the Cottage Hospital gift shop. Irene also helped create pillows for heart patients and she continued to stuff teddy bears for children in the pediatric ward until 2020. Irene and Stuart also enjoyed their retirement years, taking cruises, participating activities at Samarkand, including performing in readers' theater plays written by Stuart. Both Irene and Stuart were members of First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara.


Faith remained a cornerstone throughout Irene’s life, and she lived her life as she lived her faith. She remained humble, loved generously, and demonstrated both tenderness and tenacity. Irene seldom complained, and when she faced challenges, she simply said, “you do what you have to do.” Her family and friends will miss her quiet and friendly presence as well as her wry sense of humor.


Irene was predeceased by her husband of 53 years, Stuart MacMillan, as well as her parents and 10 of her 11 siblings. Irene is survived by her sister, Edna Mae (Trembly) Schlegel, of Rocky Ford, Colorado and many nieces and nephews, among them Angela White of Tulsa, OK and Kevin MacMillan, of Riverside, CA.


A Celebration of Life will be held on February 12 at 10 the Brandel Hall Chapel at Samarkand in Santa Barbara, with reception to follow in the Brandel Hall activity room. Burial service will be at 2 p.m. the same day at Mountain View Cemetery, Altadena, CA. The family invites friends and community members to attend and celebrate her remarkable life.

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Celebration of Life

10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Monday, February 12, 2024
The Samarkand
2550 Treasure Drive
Santa Barbara, California, United States


2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Monday, February 12, 2024
Mountain View Cemetery
2400 Fair Oaks Ave
Altadena , California, United States
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