Mary MacMillan RN, New Waterford
Mary MacMillan RN, New Waterford

Event Name 1

Parish Chuch Of St. Leonard
Mount Carmel Avenue
New Waterford, Nova Scotia, Canada
Funeral Mass

Obituary of Mary Irene MacMillan RN, New Waterford

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Irene (Herve) MacMillan, RN on Saturday, June 15, 2024.

Irene was born on Dec. 29, 1925 in the village of Florence, Cape Breton to the late Agnes (MacInnis) Herve and Alexis Herve. She was the second of twelve children, four of whom died in infancy.

Irene was born with beautiful skin, a sharp memory and a loving, kind personality which she maintained throughout her life. If you met her once, she never forgot a thing about you. She loved dancing and skating in her younger years but was skilled at reading, politics and crossword puzzles. However, she loved her family first and foremost.

She was a devout Catholic and a true Christian; never one to gossip. She was famous for her spaghetti and meatballs, fudge squares and peanut butter fudge. She was blessed with a quick mind and began school at the age of four. The next year, she was placed in grade two. She graduated from Florence High School while working week-ends at Todd Hickey's Bargain Store. She worked steadily for four months until she began her nursing training in 1943. She trained at the New Waterford General Hospital where her older sister, Eva, was already a student. She graduated in 1946, leading her class. The day after graduation, she began working at Dr. Malcolm Chisholm's office as an RN and began boarding at John and Grace MacMillan's where she met her future husband who always said "she stole me right out of the house".

At that time, if youy were married, you couldn't get hired so Irene did private duty nursing from 1949-1952 where she nursed many New Waterford citizens back to health.

She began evening/night supervisor from 1952-1957. She resigned after her last son was born but a year later was fortunate enough to get the same job at New Waterford General and stayed there until the hospital closed in 1963.

In 1963, the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital opened and she was hired as evening/night supervisor. In 1973, she was appointed day supervisor and director of inservice education. Prior to her appointment, the Sisters of St. Martha were hired to do the job. Irene was the first lay person to be appointed to that position. In 1978, she was appointed Director of Nursing and held that position until she retired in 1990 at the age of 65.

Irene held many prestigious positions in her career. From 1980-89, she served as a member of the Board of Directors at the Sydney City Hospital, then in 1989 she was appointed as a member of the first Board of Directors of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.

In 1990, she was made an Honorary Member of the Registered Nurses Association of Nova Scotia and she attended yearly meetings in Halifax for over 30 years.

In 1990, she was also appointed to the health care representative on the Canada Pension Review Tribunal for four years and she was able to help many people who had been denied their Canada Pension. 

Over the years, she attended the International Congress of Nurses in Mexico in 1973 and Los Angeles in 1981.

Irene was predeceased by her husband, Pat MacMillan Sr. whom she was married to for over 60 years. 

She is survived by her sons, Pat (Betty Anne) MacMillan, Herve (Margaret Ann Buchanan, RN) MacMillan and Alexis MacMillan. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Jennifer (Donnie) Hutchings, Janis (Tim) Dimond, Irene Alexis (Keith Boutilier). She will be greatly missed by her great-grandchildren, Parker and Pierce Hutchings, Mason Dimond, Alexis, Aaliyah, and Stephen Boutilier. 

Her great-granddaughters held a special place in Irene's heart. As little children, she played school with them, they fixed her hair; all for a muffin or an ice cream or some soda.

Irene is also survived by her sister, Agnes Reid; brother-in-law, John MacNeil as well as her sister-in-law, Hilda (Bragg) Herve.

She was predeceased by her sisters, Eva Scott, RN, Regina Jobe, Joan Coady, Marguerite MacNeil, Freda Devlon; brothers, Sonny (John Alexis) Herve and William 'Billie' Herve. She was also predeceased by Richard Scott, Reggie Jobe, and Marguerite (Kennedy) Herve.

She is survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins with whom she kept in contact with, especially at Christmas time.

She had many neighbors and friends who were so very good to her; from making her a meal to putting out her garbage. She truly appreciated all they did.

We, her family, will carry her memory in our hearts forever. We thank God for her and will miss her dearly. May she rest in peace.

No words can express how grateful we were to Irene's granddaughter, Irene Alexis, who cared for her grandmother with so much love and respect these last two months. We are eternally grateful to her for all she did.

There will be no visitation. A Funeral Mass of celebration will be held on Thursday, June 27 at 10:30 a.m. in the Parish Church of St. Leonard, Mount Carmel Ave, with Father Godwin Obike officiating. Burial will be in Mount Carmel Cemetery with a reception to follow at the KOC. Family flowers only please. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to V.J. McGillivray Funeral Home, New Waterford where condolences can be expressed at: 


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