Robin McMillen was known as a man of strong will and convictions. Admired by many and scorned by some, he left a lasting mark in the hearts of those who knew him.
Born to Barbara Kay and Pete McMillen on Jan. 9, 1951, the eldest of three boys. He grew up along the woodlands and lakes of Michigan, most at ease in the wilds of nature. As a young man, he worked for Oldsmobile as did his father, where he developed a keen eye for automobiles and learned how to wrench his way through many an engine. He always had a good ride, whether it be a truck for work, a camper van for the family, or a custom painted Moto Guzzi.
Robin was an avid outdoorsman skilled with racing canoes. He had quite a few adventures sailing and rowing the lakes of Michigan, then later along the coastal waters and rivers of Oregon and Washington. Like the Capricorn sea-goat, he was as much at ease on the water as on the land. He was also a craftsman and builder of several homes, often living in communities of like-minded people.
You could say he was part of the back-to-earth movement, but for him it was his true nature to commune with the elements. As a member of Earth First! he met others who aligned with his political views as a rebel and protector. He stood for what he believed to be true, often uncompromising, and exposed deception and mistrust in governmental bodies of thought. Howard Zinn was one of his heroes. In later life he called himself an iconoclast and had a rare perspective on history. His dry sense of humor was evident in his many postings on Facebook under the name of RawBean (otherwise known as uncooked lentil).
At the peak of his career, he was a pondscape architect, self-taught and unique in style. Many of his pondscapes, patios and rock walls can still be found around Jefferson County. His appreciation for beauty and love of women was a force of attraction in many relationships. He was blessed to have two sons, Raven and Ariol, whom he loved dearly. Raising both his sons had always been a source of joy and delight, taking them on adventures to barter fairs, pagan gatherings, and later on, raves. A great lover of music and dance, he often dressed as a wild man of the woods and led ceremonies on Celtic holy days. It was as if he carried the legends of the old ones and brought them to life for those who walked the same path.
A robin bird’s meaning is hope, renewal and rebirth. These traits came to his aid during the 13 years after Guillain-Barre Syndrome left him paralyzed. His life was suddenly and irrevocably changed. Though he retained his sharp wit and humor, it was sheer force of will that allowed him to return home, bound to a wheelchair for the remainder of his days. Such tragedy was also the proving ground for a soul who treasured his freedom above all. He became reliant on the many caregivers who helped him recover a semblance of independence, tending his gardens, preparing his food, and all the many ways that he received their care. A humbling experience that was not always met with grace for a man once so capable to be at the mercy of others. Equal measures of bravado and humility, though his pride never vanished, and his humor prevailed.
He was found on the morning of Jan. 28, 2022, in the company of his beloved cats. He is survived by his brothers, Kevin and Kerry McMillen; step-mother, Sheila McMillen; sons, Raven and Ari McMillen; and many others who loved him well.
A Celebration of Life will be held on May 15, 2022, with family and friends at the Barter Circle Spring Gathering near Lake Leland at 260 Munn Road. Visit our Booth and Altar beginning around noon. No fee for those coming just for the memorial (though financial support is always appreciated.) Join us in Circle around 4 p.m. to share words of tribute. Dress warm for being outside, BYO food and drink, Sacred Intentions & Loving Heart. For more information contact Katy Morse at email@example.com.