Betty McMillan's Gift Perpetuates Her Service to Others Both Locally and Globally

A woman whose life was spent in service to others has made a gift that will continue her witness in perpetuity.

Betty McMillan, who spent 11 years as a missionary working in the Mbandaka area of the Democrat Republic of Congo and finished her career as a social worker helping people with special needs, made a gift through her estate that will provide vital resources to enhance services to individuals.

Betty, born in southwest Kansas, married her husband, Donald “Mac” McMillan in 1971 following her missionary career that saw her working as director of a community center and counselor for a girl’s school.

When Mac was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1981, they relocated to Columbia, Mo., where Betty had family. While he eventually lost his 17-year battle with the disease, Betty discovered a passion for helping people with special needs. While her husband was under care in the Lenoir Retirement Community, Betty worked as executive director of Gateways, an organization which cared for persons with mental disabilities in St. Louis, and later Woodhaven Care Center in Columbia. She also was a regional operations manager, overseeing other National Benevolent Association centers serving persons with special needs.

She and Mac had a living trust in place.  Betty, always with an eye toward detail, reviewed and revised the trust several times both while Mac was alive and after his death.  The final version of the trust written in 2007 revealed the generosity of a woman, who, both during her lifetime and after death, wanted to take care of others. She died in 2010 at the age of 79.

In addition to gifts left to family members and friends, she gave a percentage to the Christian Church Foundation to which establish the Donald L. (Mac) and Betty McMillan Permanent Fund.  Each year, the income is distributed to five of her cherished causes:  Global Ministries, Woodhaven, Columbia Area Older Adult Ministry (CAOAM), Rock Bridge Christian Church that she attended, and the Pension Fund.

From providing an important pastoral presence around the globe to supporting a chaplain ministry that serves eight long-term care and retirement communities in Columbia, Betty’s gift is making a difference.

Jane Sullivan-Davis, Executive for Resource Development for Global Ministries, reports that the Betty’s fund provides international expertise and an important pastoral presence around the globe.   

Jaime Friedrichs, former Woodhaven development director, knew Betty through her influence at Woodhaven and as fellow members of the Rock Bridge congregation.  This church is unique as many of its members are served by Woodhaven.  Because of this special relationship, the church board voted unanimously to earmark income from Betty’s gift for three years to Woodhaven’s capital campaign in 2015, putting her gift with those from other church members.

 “I truly admire that Betty had her affairs in order and set up to benefit the places she cared most about,” Jamie said. “Her love of Rock Bridge and Woodhaven and her ability to connect them together was quite inspiring to me…I appreciate how she handled preparing for death.”

And if we think that money is the only thing we can pass on as a legacy, Betty left behind her precious cat, Pumpkin.  Instead of sending her to a shelter, Betty’s minister, the Rev. Maureen Dickmann, in the ultimate act of pastoral care, now is Pumpkin’s caretaker.  

Kirby Gould, Vice President, North Central Zone