WILLIS JOHN McMILLEN

B. February 6, 1873 in Abilene, Dickinson County, KS
D. August 5, 1944 in Capron, Boone County, IL
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  • Children:
  1. Leila Minerva (McMillen) Faulkner Osborne born December 10, 1900 in Grayslake, Lake County, IL; married 1) Wesley C. Faulkner (1898-1980); married 2) Samuel Roscoe Osborne on February 24, 1981 in Hillsborough County, FL; last residence in Riverview, Hillsborough County, FL; Leila died October 2, 1994 in Brandon, Hillsborough County, FL; Leila and Wesley are buried in Hillsboro Memorial Cemetery, Brandon, Hillsborough County, FL; According to the Tampa Tribune (Tampa FL) Wednesday, October 5, 1994, page 28:

“LEILE OSBORNE, 93, of Brandon died Sunday in Brandon.  A native of Grayslake, Ill., she was a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church in Riverview.  She is survived by four nieces, Ann Kakacek of Antioch, Ill., Doris Hauser of Lakeland, Avis Sybrandy of Atlanta and Ruth Tonigan of Aberdeen, S.D.  Hillsboro Memorial Funeral Home, Brandon.”

  1. James Willard McMillen born October 23, 1902 in Grayslake, Lake County, IL; Veteran, Lieutenant Commander; married Virginia Phyllis Morley (1903-1984) in 1926 daughter of John James Morley (1866-1940) and Nella Ina (Soule) Morley (1872-1959); last residence in Antioch, Lake County, IL; James died January 27, 1984 in Lake Forest, Lake County, IL; James and Virginia’s bodies were cremated cremated; According to the Antioch News (Antioch IL) Monday, January 30, 1984:

“James W. McMillen – James W. McMillen, 81, of Antioch, died Jan. 27 at Lake Forest Hospital in Lake Forest.  He was born Oct. 23, 1902 in Grayslake and had lived in the Antioch for over 47 years.  He graduated from Libertyville High School and was a graduate of the University of Illinois Class of 1924 with a degree in engineering from the School of Mining.  He was on the wrestling team and was captain of the University of Illinois football team in 1923, playing on that team with “Red” Grange, and was All American in football that year.  He played professional football with the Chicago Bears from 1924-1928, was a professional wrestler for 26 years from 1924-1950 and was a referee for the Illinois Athletic Commission from 1950-1958.  He served at Lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy for four years from 1941-1945 as a physical training instructor and welfare and recreational officer in the South Pacific Theatre, serving in Noumea and New Caladonia, and also serving as a senior shore patrol officer.  He operated a concrete products business in Antioch from 1945-1958 and served as mayor of Antioch from 1952-1958.  From 1958-1962, he was a field engineer in northern Illinois for the Illinois Dept. of Conservation in supervision and development for parks, conservation areas and access areas.  From 1962-1965, he was assistant supervisor of parks (field operations) for the State of Illinois and from 1965-1969 was supervisor of parks and memorials for the Illinois Dept. of Conservation.  From 1969-1978, he served as an engineer for the Lake County Forest Perserve District.  He was a member of the Rising Sun Masonic Lodge 115 AF & AM in Grayslake for over 52 years, Springfield Consistory 32nd Degree, the Anser Shrine Temple 748 and the Lake County Farm Bureau.  He was a former member of the Antioch Fire Dept. and Antioch Rescue Squad, the Antioch Township High School Board, the Antioch Lions Club, and the State Bank of Antioch Board of Directors.  In 1969, he was honored as Antioch’s first V.I.P. at St. Peter’s Church in Antioch.  On August 15, 1926, he was united in married to Phyllis Morley in Waukegan.  Survivors include his wife, Phyllis; one son, James John (Diana) of Farmington, Mo.; one daughters, Phyllis Ann (John) Kakacek of Antioch; one sister, Leile (Sam) Osborne of Florida; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.  Funeral services were held Jan. 30 at the Strang Funeral Home in Antioch with the Rev. Theodore Bessette of St. Igantius Church of Antioch officiating.  Interment was private.  Donations in his memory may be made to the Antioch Rescue Squad.”

Additional Information:

According to the 1900 U.S Census in Grayslake, Avon Township, Lake County, IL the household members were Willis McMillen, born February 1873, age 27, married 3 years, born in Illinois (should be Kansas), occupation: farmer; Maude McMillen, wife, born June 1877, age 22, married 3 years, 0 children born, born in Minnesota.

According to the 1910 U.S. Census in Grayslake, Avon Township, Lake County, IL the household members were William McMillen, age 36, married once for 13 years, born in Kansas, occupation: mason – stone and brick work; Maude M. McMillen, wife, age 32, married once for 13 years, 2 children born, 2 children living, born in Minnesota; Leila M McMillen, daughter, age 9, single, born in Illinois; James W. McMillen, son, age 7, single, born in Illinois.

According to the U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918: Willis John McMillen residing in Grayslake, Lake County, IL; age 45 born February 6, 1873; occupation: brick layer for Hendee Bros. in Round Lake, Lake County, IL; nearest relative: Maude M. McMillen, wife in Grayslake, Lake County, IL, medium height, medium build, blue eyes, gray hair; signed September 13, 1918.

According to the 1920 U.S. Census in Grayslake, Avon Township, Lake County, IL the household members were Willis McMillen, age 46, married, born in Kansas; occupation: bricklayer owner; Maude McMillen, wife, age 43 born in Minnesota; Leila McMillen, daughter, age 19, single, born in Illinois; James McMillen, son, age 17, single, born in Illinois.

According to the 1930 U.S. Census in Grayslake, Avon Township, Lake County, IL, the household members were Willis J. McMillen, age 58, first married at age 23, born in Kansas, occupation: mason – foundation placing; Maude M McMillen, wife, age 52, first married at age 19, born in Minnesota; and Sarah M. Seesholts, mother-in-law, age 80, widowed, born in Illinois.

According to the St. Louis Star and Times (St. Louis MO) Friday, November 25, 1932, page 35, from a lengthy newspaper article about Jim McMillen, a life story of a leading wrestler by Harry T. Brundidge:

“…I was born at Gray’s Lake, about half way between Chicago and Milwaukee, In Lake County, and my father, Willis J. McMillen, was a bricklayer in that town, a community of 600.  There were only two children, myself and my sister Leila, who is Mrs. W. G. Falkner (sic) of Mundelein, Ill.  My dad never had much, and as soon as I was old enough I went to work in a grocery store, then to a hardware store and next into a cannery, where I helped can peas.  I finished grammar school, and two years of high in Gray’s Lake and then went to Libertyville Township high school, where I played baseball and basketball…”

According to the 1940 U.S. Census in Grayslake, Avon Township, Lake County, IL, the household members were Willis McMillen, age 67, widowed, highest grade completed: 3, born in Kansas, occupation: bricklayer; Welsey, Faulkner, son-in-law, age 40, married, highest grade completed: H4, born in Illinois, occupation: hardware merchant; Leila Faulkner, daughter, age 39, married, highest grade completed: C1, born in Illinois, occupation: hardware clerk.

According to the Lake County Illinois Genealogical Society. “Strang Funeral Home – Grayslake, Illinois – 1908-1964”. Mundelein IL. 2015:

“Name: Wallis (sic) John McMillen; Birth Date: 06 Feb 1873. Abalene KS; Death Date: 05 Aug 1944, Capron IL; Cause of Death: Cerebral Hemorrhage; Marital: Wid; Occupation: Brick Mason; Minister: Rev. Reed, Chapel; Burial Place: Fort Hill; Next of Kin: James McMillen (Waukegan) – Father, Aurilla Fuller (NY) – Mother”

According to the Chicago Tribune (Chicago IL) Sunday, August 6, 1944, page 28:

“McMILLEN – Willis John McMillen, 71, Aug. 5, 1944, beloved father of Leilla Faulkner and Lt. Comdr. J. W. McMillen, brother of A. A. McMillen.  Services Monday, 2 p.m., at Strang chapel, Grays Lake.  Interment Fort Hill cemetery, Please omit flowers.”

According to the Lake County Illinois Genealogical Society. “Strang Funeral Home – Grayslake, Illinois – 1908-1964”. Mundelein IL. 2015:

“Name: Wallis (sic) John McMillen; Birth Date: 06 Feb 1873; Birth Place: Abalene, KS; Death Date: 05 Aug 1944; Death Place: Capron, IL; Cause of Death: Cerebral Hemorrhage; Wid; Occupation: Brick Mason; Minister: Rev. Reed, Chapel; Burial Place: Fort Hill; Next of Kin: James McMillen (Waukegan) – Father, Aurilla Fuller (NY) – Mother”