Alistair Roberts MacMillan was born February 17, 1943 in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. He left us on July 9, 2021 relatively peacefully in his home surrounded by his sad family who miss him terribly and feel a little robbed that he was taken too soon. Cancer is pretty mean. If it were not for the amazing care that Al (and all of us) received from the saints of St. Luke’s hospice care, our journey would have been much more difficult. A special thanks goes to Al’s incredible Nurse Coordinator, Dana, who loves her job and it shows.
Al was a guy who loved life. He grew up on the prairies of southern Alberta where he fell in love with and married his childhood sweetheart, Connie Chapman, Queen of the Milk River Band. They were a dynamic duo, zig-zagging the US-Canadian border as Al went to school and Connie worked and birthed babies, eventually landing in Boise, Idaho with a PhD in accounting and three adorable children. The fourth child, who was even more adorable, stole Greg’s coveted position as the baby of the family a few years later.
Life on Highland View Drive was grand. As king of his castle, Al taught his kids how to work. There was Baseboard Washing 101, the importance of putting stuff back where you found it, using perfect weed pulling technique to ensure the entire root is removed, and the simple yet daunting task of using shovels and the brute strength of adolescent children to level the entire front lawn. Once the work was done, the fun begun.
So many great adventures were had! Al taught his kids how to play the old “throw a branch in the river and try to hit it with a perfectly thrown rock” game. Many hours were spent playing 500 in the front yard and even more were squandered playing catch. With a few mitts and a couple of balls there was no time for boredom. Perhaps a favorite was floating the Boise River in Grandpa Leon’s old tractor tire tubes, which were undoubtedly the largest on the river, sometimes more than once in a day. On those tubes we were “Kings of the River,” only touching the water if we darn well felt like it.
Al loved Boise State where he was a professor of accounting for seven years. Tired of bureaucracy and income limitations, his intuition and high risk tolerance led to Al calling on brother Johnny Mac (two time Stanley Cup Champion!) to join him in a new adventure - opening Idaho’s first retail computer store, ComputerLand! (Connie was roped into that one too, ending her role as stay-at-home mom.) This venture resulted in one particularly eye-popping Christmas morning, scuba diving exotic islands on a few occasions, and allowing the kids to graduate from college (almost) debt free! The grit, tenacity and endless hours they put into the business provided many great adventures for their families, and more opportunities to teach them the value of hard work.
Upon retiring, Al re-discovered the sport of his homeland....HOCKEY! He joined St. Michael’s Hockey Club where he became a consummate student of the game, watching countless YouTube videos, always looking to perfect his edges and improve his shot. It was not uncommon to find Al at Idaho Ice World’s StickTime coaching fellow hockey players on the finer points of skating or shooting, whether they asked for it or not. As much as he loved playing the game, the camaraderie in the locker room was where he found his true joy with a few beers, a sip of Yukon Jack, and a handful of peanut butter pretzels, recapping the day’s skate.
Al also loved being out in the wilderness, especially if there was a river involved. He floated the Middle Fork of the Salmon and the Selway more than a few times with his friend, Doug Tims and brought a lucky family member or two along on each trip. He especially loved to combine a few of his favorite things - manual labor, rivers, smoking cigars, sipping whiskey and telling stories when he was lucky enough to join Doug at Campbell’s Ferry for a week or so in the spring.
Perhaps Al’s favorite title was that of Grandpa. He loved them all and his biggest wish was that someone, anyone, might eventually become an NHL star. He took them skating early and often. We’re still not sure which one might make it but there is still some hope in T. Grandpa also liked to teach them how to live on the edge a little. He introduced a couple of them to the casinos in Vegas before they were old enough to legally be there. Encouraging a couple more to stick their heads out of the sunroof as he blazed down the highway was another fun trick - did you catch any bugs on your face? He was also their biggest cheerleader, no matter what the activity, bringing out our favorite short sharp whistle and a “Way to go!”
Al’s most joyous and final accomplishment came this last April, when he received the Holy Sacraments, becoming a member of the Catholic Church, in a beautiful ceremony at home surrounded by his wife, his children, grandchildren, his Godfather Gerry Bresina and Gerry’s wife Andrea. Way to go, Dad!
Al is survived by his heartbroken family. Connie, his wife of 55 (almost 56) years, his children Karey (Bobby) Hunter: Henry, Eydie and Tommy. Nancy (Scott) Raeber: Mac and Annie. Greg MacMillan (Kristen): Tatum, Buell. Tina (David) Maxwell: Marley, Miles, Thielen, Delta. Grandpa also loved his dear bonus grandkids: Mark, Kylee, Bode, Jessa, Jake and Kiana. Brothers Dugald MacMillan, John (Jolene) MacMillan, Keith (Karen) MacMillan, and sister Sylvia (Alan) Day and countless cousins, nieces, nephews, and in-laws.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, July 22, 2021 at 10:00am, St John’s Cathedral in Boise. A Celebration of Life will immediately follow at Crane Creek Country Club.
Al’s Funeral Service will also be live streamed:
St. John’s Cathedral FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/boisecathedral YouTube: Cathedral of St John the Evangelist Boise
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to an organization of your choice.
Pass the Puck