Skip navigation

Saturday January 5, 2013

JAMES BRUCE MILLAR Passed away peacefully with family by his side on New Year's Day, January 1, 2013 in his 87th year.
Born in Belfast, N. Ireland, Bruce was a proud ''Ulsterman'' one of three children (along with Alan and Pat) born to Herbert Arthur and Dora Millar.
Dad, ''Pops'' to his grandchildren, attended Methodist College, Belfast in his youth where he was a star rugby player. He proudly volunteered to serve in the Royal Engineers during WWII from 1943-46. After the war he served in Palestine for two years, a 20 year-old Captain in charge of much older, more experienced men. Returning to Belfast after he was demobbed, he studied engineering, graduating from Queen's University in 1951.
Dad went on to marry the gorgeous girl with the dark, curly hair and mischievous personality he fell in love with at age 13. He first set eyes on her as she rode past him on her bicycle on her way to school. It took 12 years, but Sylvia finally agreed to marry Bruce in 1951 and they remained together in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, for 62 years.
Job prospects in Belfast were slim after the war, so Dad packed the family off for ''the Green City in the Sun'', Nairobi where they lived for nine memorable years. Dad worked for the City of Nairobi, building roads and sewers, some of which are still in use today. After Kenya's independence in 1963, Dad realized his days were numbered and it was time to ''kwenda'' so he moved the family again, this time to Don Mills. Starting life over again at the age of 40 with a family of six and diminished savings was tough, but made easier by the fact Uncle Alan and family were nearby to provide support (and amazing Sunday dinners). After receiving a $25 annual bonus from his employer, Dad decided to start his own firm, Twiga Consultants, a small, but successful engineering consulting firm that Dad ran until his retirement. During retirement he served on the Housing Board of St. Mark's Presbyterian Church.
Dad's passion was rugby, but he loved most sports including golf, tennis and others. An avid golfer since learning to play in his youth on the many beautiful courses in Northern Ireland (Cloughey, Portstewart, Portrush), Dad continued his love of the game playing with his brother Alan at Uplands and with Sylvia and friends at Westview. Dad encouraged us all to play tennis knowing it was a sport the whole family could play together. Did you know he was once President of DMTC?
Music and a unique sense of humour were also things held dear by Dad. He was always trying to get others to appreciate the classical music he loved so much and a quality stereo was a cherished item. The volume was never loud enough! Not everyone caught on to Dad's own unique sense of humour, but it was always present, if not always understood. How do you make a Maltese Cross?
Dad and Mum loved to travel keeping a map of the world with pins marking the numerous places they had visited with family and friends. Many memorable times were had in Sarasota, Bermuda, Ponte Vedra, Ireland and of course, ''the cottage'' (whether at the Philps' or I & K's).
Above all else, family came first and foremost with Dad. Dad was proud of his children and loved spending time with all his grandchildren and, more recently, great-grandchildren. Although his battle with cancer was brief, his loving family had the opportunity to ''rally around'' together and share the close bond they always had. Dad is survived by his loving wife Sylvia, sons Ian (Karen), Brian (Judith), Alan (Angela) and daughter Susan (Stu), grandchildren and great-grandchildren Jamie, Katie, Dana, Zach, Ben, Sarah, Stephanie, Jacqueline, Megan, Gillian, Jack, Dean, Mathieu and Cameron. Bruce was predeceased by his brother Alan and sister Pat and was very close to his nieces and nephews Romy, Trisha, Alli, Peter, Susan and John.
A memorial service will be held at St. Mark's Presbyterian Church, 1 Greenland Road, Don Mills, on Saturday, January 5, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. with refreshments to follow at the church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to ''The Palliative Care Unit,'' in care of The Sunnybrook Foundation, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4N 3M5, 416-480-4483.

Back to top