Prominent Eclipse resident dies

Published 10:02 pm Monday, February 4, 2013

A larger-than-life figure in the Eclipse community lost his life this weekend after five years of surviving with a disease that usually takes its victims after two years.

William “Bill” Millan Jr., 65, died of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease with no known cause and for which the only cure is a transplant, which Millan declined to be considered for, his wife Linda Millan said Monday.

Bill Millan works the polls at the Eclipse voting precinct during the 2012 November general election. It was one of his many ways of being involved in the community.

To many people outside his immediate circle, his voice may be better known than the man himself. He was a radio host on local programs like “Big Band Saturday Night” on 94.1.


Email newsletter signup

Locally, his voice was prominent as the announcer for swim meets at Nansemond Swim Club in Eclipse for a few years and, for a while, as the voice on the answering machine at Bennett’s Creek Pharmacy, his wife said.

Millan was seen as well as heard around town, too. He had worked the polls during elections in Eclipse for the last 10 years, said Les Ward, who worked there with him. He was deeply involved in his church, Ebenezer United Methodist Church, where he was the liturgist at the early service each week.

And just before his illness took a turn for the worst last week, he accepted an appointment to the city’s Electoral Board, but he never got to be sworn in.

Ward said he and Millan together helped implement training for election officials in Suffolk.

“He and I ran the Ebenezer district polling place for the last 10 years,” Ward said. “When we started, there wasn’t a whole lot of training going on. We got involved in training all the election officials in the city of Suffolk, and Bill was an integral part of that.”

Ward, who has known Millan ever since the two became neighbors 25 years ago, also said his friend was an expert hushpuppy cooker for various community events. The two loved to go out to lunch, to George’s Steakhouse in Suffolk or Jimmy’s Pizza in Chuckatuck.

For breakfast, Millan was a regular at two North Suffolk spots — O’doodle Doo’s Donuts and The Market.

“I can’t say enough about how wonderful a man he was,” The Market owner Christine Treakle said. “No matter what kind of mood I was in or what was going on, he always brightened up my day.”

Treakle said Millan had a sausage biscuit most of the time, but sometimes branched out into pancakes and other treats. He always sat with a group of regulars and enjoyed himself.

“He was probably the nicest man I have ever met,” Treakle said. “He made you want to be like him.”

Linda Millan, his wife of 30 years, said he was a family man, as well as the voice of radio and a community man. He enjoyed spending time with his three children and seven grandchildren and was involved in his daughter’s field trips when she was in school.

Millan also worked with Delegate Chris Jones in Richmond during one of his terms.

“Bill was a man of deep faith who was devoted to his family, community and church,” Jones said Monday night from Richmond.