On August 16, 2023, Gretchen McMillan, loving wife and mother of two, passed away peacefully in Sarasota, Florida surrounded by her family.
Gretchen was born on May 15, 1941 in Cleveland, Ohio. She grew up in Winter Haven, Florida, the middle child of three siblings. Her interests included Girl Scouts, swimming, and animals, including her first dog Bibbs and a pet rabbit she taught to hop on a leash. Gretchen graduated from Winter Haven High School, Class of 1959 where she was a majorette on the drum line and worked summers as a lifeguard on Lake Silver.
After attending the University of Florida, Gretchen joined Eastern Airlines as a flight attendant in the early 1960's. She was based out of New Orleans, Louisiana and loved traveling during her off times with her best friends Sarah Rahaim and Barbara Culp. As a flight attendant, her dachshund, Baron, traveled with her to all of her destinations. Mostly, Gretchen loved large animals. She loved to ride horses and was especially enamored by large dog breeds which she groomed and showed: Bouvier des Flandres and Great Danes. Gretchen's home never had a shortage of dogs, at one point there were 2 litters and 5 adult dogs under one roof.
Gretchen was a doting and wonderful mother to her two daughters, Stacey Glantz Barton and Melissa Glantz Protigal. She was her daughters' greatest cheerleader and was known to drop everything on a moment's notice to drive/chaperone/plan/execute activities for her girls and their friends. Gretchen always created a warm, inviting home where the neighborhood kids would gather for sleepovers and to devour her famous chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.
Once Gretchen's daughters were grown, she went back to fly for the airlines. It was then that she reconnected with Dr. Jon McMillan, the love of her life. They lived in Alamosa, Colorado for 25 years where she worked alongside her husband in his Orthopedics practice. Upon their retirement, the couple moved to Sarasota, Florida to be closer to her daughters. Gretchen and Jon celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary earlier this month.
Gretchen was a caregiver at heart. During her marriage to Jon, she was by his side as his nurse and advocate during several complicated and life altering illnesses. He survived each illness due to her positive attitude, unwavering devotion, support and ability to navigate and communicate with medical providers.
Gretchen is predeceased by her mother and father, Joe Towles Wear Sr. and Grace Wright Wear, brother Joe (Jay) Towles Wear, Jr. and niece Kim Wallace. She is survived by her loving husband, Dr. Jon McMillan, sister JoAnne Sands, daughter Stacey Glantz Barton (Ellis), daughter Dr. Melissa Glantz Protigal (Jimmy), step-daughter Marjorie Glantz (Cesar), step-son Robert Glantz (Lola), step-daughter Susan Rodezno (Matt), son-in-law Dave Kavalec, niece Natalie Wear (Richard), niece Cindy Little (Bob), niece Kathy Valencia, grandchildren Chase Evans, Emily Evans, Brooks Protigal, Dr. Zack Glantz (Clint), Evan Glantz (Mary), David Castillo, Samuel Castillo (Anna), Kaitlin Kavalec, Carter Kavalec, Jaedyn Rodezno, Alyssa Rodezno, grand- nephew Tyler Wallace, great-grandchildren Finnley Glantz, Maizey Glantz and Dexter Randall Glantz.
Special thanks to Gretchen's care giver, Tiffany Willis, who went above and beyond. The family is forever grateful for Tiffany's never-ending support and loving care.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations are made in Gretchen's name to the Humane Society or Tidewell Hospice House of Sarasota...or, better yet, adopt a pet!