Juanita Yvonne McMillion, nee Sumpter, of Columbia, was born Oct. 6, 1922, and the world instantly became a better place. She was the fourth born of what eventually grew to be a family of five children raised by Ernest Virgil and Sarah Jane, nee McClanahan, Sumpter. The Sumpters lived near Elvins, Mo., and Juanita attended the local schools, graduating from Elvins High School in 1940, with a record of perfect attendance all four years.
On New Year’s Eve 1943, Juanita met her Prince Charming, William “Mac” McMillion, a young soldier in the U.S. Army. Juanita and Mac married in St. Louis on April 15, 1944, and had a daughter, Willa Jane McMillion-Bates of Columbia, and a son, Gregory Alan McMillion, whose primary residence is in Landrum, S.C. Mac and Juanita shared more than 67 years of married life which ended when he died on Aug. 5, 2011. Juanita mourned Mac every day of her life until her death on Jan. 30, 2014, when they were reunited in Heaven, never to be separated again.
In addition to her husband, Juanita was preceded in death by a dear granddaughter, Elizabeth Yvonne Bates-Evans, who died July 24, 1990; her parents, Ernest and Sarah Jane Sumpter; a brother and his wife, Lee and Goldie Sumpter; her sisters and their husbands, Helen and Horace Starnes and Irene and Edward “Bud” Sachan; a brother-in-law, Fred Harris; parents-in-law Peter and Bessie McMillion; brothers-in-law and their wives, Woodrow “Woody” and Nora McMillion, Henry and Helen McMillion, Dallas and Merle McMillion, and Norman and Jeanine McMillion; and Mac’s only sister, Betty Borders.
Survivors include Juanita and Mac’s daughter, Willa and her children Alan McMillion Bates and his fiancé Twana Mason, and Allison Elizabeth Bates-Ramsey and her husband Jacob; Alan’s children, Tyler McMillion Bates and Mackenzie Elizabeth Bates, and Juanita’s only great-great-grandchild, Alan’s granddaughter Maelyn Elizabeth Bates Also surviving is their son Greg and his wife Jeanne and their daughter, Lindsey Allison McMillion-Stemann and her husband Danny of Greenville, S.C. Jeanne’s daughters Michelle Fuller and Cheryl Hale, both of Maryland, and their children and Twana’s sons Anthony and Dillon round out the family. Juanita has one remaining sister, Alma Mae Harris (Fred’s widow) and niece Sara Pope and her husband Jim Pope, and their children Devin and Alyssa. Survivors also include Betty’s widower, Bill Borders and their daughters Kathy Jacquin and Becky Rodriguez and their children.
The family wishes to publicly acknowledge Hospice of Southern Illinois, especially nurses Lindsey and Dashondra, whose efforts had such a positive impact on the level of physical comfort and peace provided to Juanita and her family. We will be forever grateful and respectfully suggest anyone wishing to make a donation in Juanita’s name do so to Hospice of Southern Illinois in Belleville.
Visitation was at Lawlor Funeral Home in Columbia on Feb. 2. A private funeral will be held on a later date with only the family in attendance.