McMillan, owner of exotic animal farm, leaves legacy in Ellis County
On Wednesday afternoon, Lorne McMillan of HiView Miniature Farms in Waxahachie was laid to rest after passing away in November, leaving behind a legacy in the city.
McMillan began his journey when he moved to the United States from Canada, bringing his family south until they arrived in Texas.
Since the 1970s McMillan has been a part of the Waxahachie community, providing affordable housing to north central Texas with a focus in Dallas and Ellis counties.
“When you look over his life ... When he was in his 40s, he picked up seven kids, not having a job ... moving to a forward country with no money and to accomplish what he did in 50 years and starting with basically nothing. You compare that to the younger generation, it took a lot. It speaks volumes to me as a man, he had a direction and passion of bettering himself in any of the circumstances he’s been in,” said his son Neil McMillan.
After moving houses for a living, McMillan chose to change his career. He began buying and selling pot-belly pigs and his small business quickly grew into what it is today, HiView Farms.
“On the exotic animals, just over the years, he was getting them and doing a little bit of buying and selling, but it was more for the public because they would drive by and he always had an open door and gate to come in and visit and everybody was welcome,” Neil said.
According to a tribute, "He [Lorne McMillan] enjoyed 34 years of breeding and showing pot-belly pigs, camels, alpacas, miniature donkeys, miniature horses, zebras, kangaroos, exotic sheep, fallow deer, lemurs, pigmy goats, peacocks, cockatoos, corgis, and munchkin cats. His most joyful time each year was dressing up like a wise man at Christmas and parading his camels at churches throughout the state for live nativity scenes."
Throughout the years, McMillan also began a tradition of using his animals to create a live nativity scene. This tradition began in the 1990s and McMillan kept it going still at the age of 90.
George McMillan, Lorne's son, shared his father's love for the nativity scene.
“People’s reaction was the best part and how the people and the love of the story of Christ at Christmas time and it really spoke volumes to them because a lot of people," he said.
Shortly before he passed, McMillan had an infection that progressed and remained untreated. In the midst of his illness he was also diagnosed with COVID-19, becoming gravely ill and eventually succumbing to complications.
His wife, Pat McMillan, also passed away just two weeks after his death.
McMillan was laid to rest, led by a parade of camels, for the very last time. His sons and grandchildren also marched in front of the hearse carrying their father.
What will happen to the Live Nativity?
Since McMillan’s passing, his children have assumed responsibility over the farm.
“Because of Lorne’s departure and Pat’s departure, the family has descended upon the farm to try to figure out what we’re going to do with the animals but all of us have jobs and the job of maintaining his menagerie of exotics is a full-time position and nobody can do that. It really was not a huge moneymaker. The money he made in December on nativity scenes would spot the feed and pay vet bills. You had one shot a year to come up with the money that was needed to take care of the animals,” shared daughter-in-law Karen McMillan, Neil's wife.
Because of their inability to keep up with the farm, the live nativity scene will be unable to continue.
“We will not be operating HiView Miniature Farms nativity scenes. No one in this family has the time to do that, nor do we have the expertise that my father-in-law had. It does require a great deal of expertise,” Karen said. “It’s not just the death of my father-in-law and his wife, it’s the death of the live nativity scene for Christmas that my kids went to every year and many other people – adults and children all over the community."
The farm had a full booking for Christmas but the events have canceled.