- "Charles Still Louttit Millar B.E.M., was born on August the 6th 1935 at Shortie in Evie in the Orkney Islands, he passed away at 10:15am on December 29th 2006 in Macmillan House in Kirkwall. He was surrounded by his wife and children. He was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in July 2006, unfortunately dad rejected chemotherapy so his only hope was radiotherapy which they couldn't give forever. Dad's idea was to eat as much as was possible, feeding the cancer so it couldn't feed on him. If only it had worked, I wouldn't feel as lost as I do at this time.
At the time of his retirement his occupation was Superintendent of Burial Grounds, he had to keep working until he was 66 because nobody could do what he had done, the burial grounds were only a small part of his job. Dad had worked his way up through Kirkwall Town Council and Orkney Islands Council, he knew all that needed to be known about his Orkney. His final job was as Clerk to the Holm Graveyard which had him out marking graves in blizzards and bright sunshine.
Dad was called up in 1954 to do his National Service and was stationed in Egypt with the Royal Horse Artillery taking part in the Suez Crisis, his two years National Service made him who he was.
On returning to Orkney he found employment difficult so then crossed the Pentland Firth to build the Dounreay Nuclear Plant, he rose to foreman before the dome was finished.
He was working in Longhope when his second love came in to his life, the Royal British Legion, which he joined in 1958. His love for the Royal British Legion lasted a lifetime, he was in the Colour Party, the Earl Haig Association where he became chairman and his very final post for them was as chairman of the Kirkwall Branch an appointment that made him very proud. Dad was very hurt when he asked me to write a letter of resignation for him, it was as if he had decided that he had no chance of recovering, the cancer had won.
My dad married Margaret Harrold in St Magnus Cathedral on August 11th 1961. They went on to have three children Eoin in 1963, Agnes in 1967 and Heather in 1968 this completed their family. Dad also loved his grandchildren, Chrystall, Kylie, Nicholas and Ellen, they meant the world to him. Dad was one of eight children Rita, Ralph, Doreen, Frankie, Mabel, Thelma, then came dad, John and last but by no means least Kenny.
In 1966 dad started his connection with HMS Royal Oak, he knew all that he could about her loss in Orkney waters, which made her part of the place he loved. The first Memorial Service he attended was on 14th October 1966, the last one he attended was exactly 40 years later on 14th October 2006. We all wondered where he got the strength from for that last special weekend but as dad always said "I am never alone, even when i'm on my own" definitely something was helping him. Dad wanted to do everything that weekend especially the fact that he was to conduct a service over the wreck for the Falklands war hero, Simon Weston, the service became more special because for the very first time in forty years he saw the wreck in all it's splendour. Simon Weston said "I have come here once and seen the Royal Oak yet a man who has been in this spot for forty years has seen it for the first time. He shed a few tears that day, it was as if H.M.S Royal Oak was saying it's own goodbye to my dad. Dad took many families and survivors out for a service over the wreck, then back to the house for tea and sandwiches to warm them up. Each one of those visitors became part of our extended family sending letters, cards and phone calls from all corners of the world.
Dad sang baritone in St Magnus Cathedral choir for forty years, he was an elder with the church for the same forty years and was a founder member of the Friends of St Magnus. Dad looked great in his town crier uniform which doubled as his halberdier uniform, no doubt he wore many other jackets. There were jackets he always wore to do certain things, they didn't change the man inside the jacket, he was always my dad.
Dad was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen's New Years Honours List for services to Orkney in 1991 but the honour that meant the world to him was in 2005 when he was voted Orkney Citizen of the Year by the people of Orkney and further afield, with worldwide votes for a hugely popular man.
Everything dad did was done with 100% effort, he loved the sound of pipes and on Saturday nights he would be on Kirkwall's Broad Street with a bucket collecting for Kirkwall City Pipe Band. Dad could get any person to give a donation from the smallest of child to the oldest man or woman, nobody got away from him. At his Memorial Service on 6th January 2007 pipe band members past and present gathered to pay tribute to their biggest fan. They did you proud dad, i'm sure you saw them all.
Dad lived by the Legion motto, Service not Self, but he also had his own motto: Good people are scarce. Well dad, the day you went we lost the best of all those good people, nobody comes close. The mould you came from is broken and nothing will fix it."