Tony McMillian passed into the arms of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on Saturday, March 28, 2020, at home and in the presence of Laura, his wife of 55 years.
Tony was born on August 15, 1944 in Carrabelle, to Joe and Lizzie McMillian. Tony loved to tell the story behind his given name, Virgil Anthony Augusta. For months, Tony was known simply as “Baby,” while his mother awaited correspondence to be delivered and returned from the European theatre, where her older son, Joseph, whom she wanted to name the baby, was fighting. Joseph chose to honor three of his fallen Army buddies by naming his baby brother after them.
A 1962 graduate of Carrabelle High School, Tony was a natural athlete, who lettered in football, basketball and his favorite, baseball. He captained the football team for his beloved “Mullets,” as Carrabelle’s mascot was known at that time. Throughout his life, Tony loved to visit the beaches and “breathe in that salt air” of his birthplace, Franklin County.
After marrying, he and Laura made their home in Tallahassee for many years, where he worked in the retail and wholesale grocery industry. In 1997, they moved to Laura’s hometown of Tifton, Georgia, where he owned and operated The Main Street News Stand downtown Tifton. There, he became affectionately known as “Mr. Tony” or “Big T” by many Tift County, Georgia residents, and on any weekday morning, the usual gang could be found gathered in the shop, drinking coffee and discussing politics and local news.
He was last employed for years by Cornerstone Christian Book Store, Tifton, Georgia, where he was well loved by customers there, as well.
Tony was a diehard Seminole fan, catching every game he could for several decades. He loved the 1961 New York Yankees, calling them the best team that ever played the game. One of his favorite pastimes was listening to his vintage vinyl records collection of oldies and “country and western” music. He knew by heart the lines of every John Wayne movie, Andy Griffith episode and Jerry Clower routine.
His last words this side of eternity were “I love you, too,” a testimony to his life, having been loved and having loved well.
Tony is survived by his wife, Laura Mason McMillian; his daughter and son-in-law, Toni and Keith Middleton; his grandsons, Liam Middleton and Eli Middleton; his sister-in-law, Linda Mason, of Brookfield, Georgia; sister-in-law, Barbara (Richard) Jenkins of Winder, Georgia; sister, Josephine Langston of Tallahassee; several nieces and nephews; and additional loved ones through his son-in-law, Keith.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Joe and Lizzie McMillian; his father-in-law, Alton Mason and mother-in-law, Malissa Mason; his brother, Joseph McMillian; and sisters, Lee Esther Blizzard, Frances Woodall, Virginia Windsor and an infant sister; his brothers-in-law, Russell Woodall, Joe Mason and Sammy Mason; and many dear friends.
Bowen-Donaldson Home for Funerals in Tifton, Georgia is handling the arrangements. A graveside service by his devoted friend and former pastor, the Rev. Joe Carr, will be held at Tift Memorial Gardens, Tifton, Georgia. Donations in Tony’s memory may be made to the Christian Church or ministry of choice.