Obituary of Pamela Gail Lilly McMillie
Pam passed away suddenly and completely unexpectedly on September 21, 2022.
She was born in Roanoke Memorial Hospital in Roanoke Virginia on a cold winter’s day to Russell and Rita (nee Cannaday) Lilly.
Pam attended Northside High School in Roanoke County Virginia and went on to get her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences from Hollins College.
After leaving school, Pam entered the United States Air Force, first going to Officer Training School at Lackland Air Force Base (Medina Annex) in San Antonio, Texas and then on to more training at Intelligence School at Lowery Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado. With her newly gained skill sets she went to her first ‘real’ assignment, Torrejon Air Base just outside of Madrid, Spain. While there she worked for the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing and became an expert in the entire Mediterranean Region. It was in Spain where she met her future husband, Mike.
From Spain, her next assignment was to George Air Force Base in Southern California where she further heightened her skill working with Electronic Warfare aircraft and pulling numerous duty supporting the Air Force’s Red Flag, Green Flag, and Blue Flag exercises. When anyone wanted ‘the real skinny’ on what was going on, she was the expert they came to.
Pam left the Air Force in 1985 and moved back to the Northern Virginia area and worked a year for Zimmerman Associates. But her true passion was Education and she attended night classes to get her certification to become a teacher.
In 1987 she started working as a teacher at Herdon High School. Later she would teach history at Rocky Run Middle School and then History, AP Psychology and Comparative Religions at Chantilly High School, all in Fairfax County.
She continued her education to get a Master’s Degree in education from George Mason University and an EED from the University of Virginia.
Wishing to further herself, and at the encouragement of others, she applied for and was one of the few teachers selected to get trained to be an administrator. In 2001, she became an Assistant Principal at Oakton High School and later worked for the Superintendent of Fairfax Schools as a Hearing Officer.
Throughout her time in education, she molded many a mind to encourage them to look beyond the immediate and to embrace a life of learning and serving. To her last day she was still encouraging former students and faculty friends to enjoy life to the fullest.
A perpetual energy machine she stayed active after retiring in 2011, working with the Fairfax County Master Naturalists and later the Old Rag Chapter of the Master Naturalists. In 2015, when Mike accepted a new job in San Antonio, she devoted her energies at a number of San Antonio Parks as well as the San Antonio Missions.
In 2019, Pam and Mike moved to Phoenix to be closer to family, but that didn’t stop Pam from getting involved in volunteering with the Arizona Master Naturalists and the Arizona Native Plant society.
She was a fan of Professional sports and enjoyed attending Football, Baseball and Hockey games in person or watching them on television.
Everywhere Pam went she made friends and through texts, letters, phone calls and social media was able to keep up with hundreds of them. The outpouring of shock and remembrance has truly been amazing.
Pam loved the outdoors and traveling. She traveled to Asia, Africa, South America and Antarctica as well as living in Europe and the US. She was able to visit 49 of the 50 states and hiked or trekked in many of them.
Growing up Pam always thought she would hyphenate her name if she got married, but felt Pamela Gail Lilly-McMillie was just a bit over the top so she just didn’t do that.
Pam leaves behind her husband Mike of 41 plus years. She is survived by her brother, Eddie Lilly of Roanoke Virginia, her Sister-In-Law, Kyann McMillie and her husband Michael Garcia of Goodyear, Arizona, Nephew Matthew Almaraz and his wife Lizette of El Paso, Texas and Niece Kayleigh Almaraz and Partner Eric Bolling of Buckeye, Arizona. She was preceded in death by her mother and father.
Pam also leaves a big hole in the hearts of all who knew her.
The family will have a private gathering at the Arizona National Cemetery in Phoenix at a future date.
In lieu of sending flowers or other donations, please take a few minutes for yourself to enjoy a bit of the outdoors in a park or have a walk along a trail which was one of the things Pam so very much loved.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Pamela McMillie, please visit Tribute Store