Ralph Donnelly McMillen


On Feb. 14, 2022, the Cleveland Browns lost a loyal lifelong fan, Ralph Donnelly McMillen, after a brief illness. While Ralph planned on living until the Browns made it to the Super Bowl, he kicked the bucket one day after the Super Bowl in which the Browns were not included. He was 91.

Born in Akron, Ohio, on Dec. 10, 1930, to Charles and Olive McMillen, Ralph spent the first part of his life in northeast Ohio, where he met and married JoAnn Sabin (someone way out of his league). After marriage, Ralph was drafted into the Army and stationed in Germany for a year. Upon his return to the U.S., he pursued and received a doctorate in education from Case Western Reserve. He started his career as a teacher and then principal at Longcoy Elementary School in Kent, Ohio. Soon after, he moved his family to Rockland County, N.Y., to accept a principalship at Hillcrest Elementary School in the East Ramapo Central School District. Upon his retirement, he was principal at Lime Kiln Elementary School in the same district.

Ralph and JoAnn had spent summers in Sullivan at the cabin they had built in the ’70s, so after retiring they moved there full time. Ralph set up a stunning woodworking shop and turned out butter knives and little wooden boxes for several years until discovering the iPad. Sadly, he succumbed to the lure of the internet and his wood shop collected dust (not sawdust). In 2011, the couple moved from the seacoast of Maine to the desert of Bernalillo, N.M., to be closer to their children.

A man with short arms and deep pockets, Ralph never met a sale he didn’t like. He spent his time searching for the best price on everything, buying large quantities of meat at Costco and repackaging it for his freezer, trading stocks, watching cooking videos on YouTube, playing Solitaire on his iPad, following the antics and disappointments of the Cleveland Browns, making irreverent comments and bragging about how smart his cat was.

Ralph was predeceased by his wife, JoAnn (2015), and leaves behind (to deal with his house full of Doomsday-preparedness Costco purchases) his children Mark McMillen (Marisa) of Boulder, Colo., Jon McMillen of La Quinta, Calif., Michelle McMillen Belill (Mark) of Placitas, N.M., granddaughters Brooke Guess (Marty) and Elyse McMillen, great-grandson Kian Guess and his black-and-white cat, Tux. We think he would have laughed at his irreverent obit.

Know when to pay your respects.