Robert Walker McMillan

Date of Death

Robert Walker McMillan went to be with his Heavenly Father May 13, 2024. He was born April 18, 1935 in Sylacauga, Alabama, to Robert Thomas McMillan and Mary Alma Bush. He grew up in Childersburg, Alabama and Charleston, South Carolina. In Sylacauga, he met the love of his life Ann Simmons. They dated for four years before marrying at the First Baptist Church in Sylacauga on September 11,1955.
Robert graduated from Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn University) in 1957 with an Engineering Physics degree, earned a Master’s degree in Physics at Rollins College, and a PhD in Physics at the University of Florida. He often said he would not have any degrees if it were not for Ann, who steadfastly supported him and their family by working as a registered nurse so he could complete his studies.
Robert’s career began at Martin Marietta in Orlando; he later became a Principal Research Scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Robert also worked at the Air Force Research Lab in Rome, New York. His final and most rewarding position was Senior Research Scientist for the Army Space and Missile Defense Command at Redstone Arsenal. He was named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, a distinction reserved for select IEEE members who have extraordinary accomplishments in their selected field. Robert received the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award from the Secretary of the Army at the Pentagon in 2005. He was awarded 10 patents during his career. Following retirement, he and Ann made their home in St. George Island, Florida. Robert remained involved in his field of research, writing many successful grants.
Despite his many accomplishments, Robert would tell you his greatest achievement in life was his family. In addition to his wife of 68 years, Robert is survived by daughter Marisa McMillan Burns (Tommy Burns), and their children Mariel Burns (Conor Cronin); Tara Burns Sarbaz (Aryan Sarbaz); Kaitlin Burns Passafiume (Drew Passafiume); John Burns (Allison Burns); Hannah Burns Dunham (John “Goose” Dunham); and Lilla Burns. He is also survived by son Bob McMillan; daughter Natalie McMillan Isaza, (Ramiro Isaza), and their children Erin Isaza (David Liu); and Ben Isaza. Survivors also include his great-granddaughters, Delilah Joy Dunham and Harper Louise Burns, many nieces and nephews, and Charlie and Brenda Simmons who have provided support and comfort to Ann and Robert. Robert was predeceased by his parents, his sister Martha McMillan McDermott, and daughter-in-law Ann Love McMillan.
Robert was a good, kind, and gentle man who loved the Lord and strived to emulate Christ throughout his life. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Robert’s memory to The Autism Society of America (; the Mustard Seed African Schools Ministries; or the First Baptist Church of Sylacauga Missions.
A memorial service will be Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at 11AM at the First Baptist Church in Sylacauga. Visitation will be from 10-11. Online condolences can be made at