Bob and Rae McMillan helped shape La Loma Village and Litchfield Park
If you haven’t met Bob and Rae McMillan yet, it’s just a matter of time before you do. The longtime Litchfield Park residents are dynamic, contributing time and resources to enhancing the Southwest Valley Community.
The couple met as students at the University of Arizona, and became good friends before marrying and eventually settling in Litchfield Park. Rae, who hails from Benson, Ariz., became a buyer for Macy’s and then transitioned into the financial world. Bob’s roots run deep in Litchfield Park; his father moved there from Jerome, Ariz., and practiced dentistry locally for 49 years. Bob befriended many local dignitaries, including town founder Paul Litchfield and Paul’s wife, Florence.
“They were close friends of my parents,” says Bob, who also went into dentistry and had a downtown Litchfield Park practice with his father.
While Rae and Bob were raising their two children, they found time to serve on numerous boards and committees, some related to health care, others to arts and education. That tradition of service continues today. Although they downplay their influence, the pair played an important part in the history and development of the La Loma Village senior living community in Litchfield Park by facilitating a 300-acre land donation.
“I don’t think that I made such a difference,” Rae says modestly, “but there were people who needed to know about Sun Health, and I think I was fairly successful, along with other board members, in introducing the organization through social events and one-on-one introductions. It was a grassroots effort.”
But the truth is that when Edith Denny—the daughter of Paul Litchfield—and her husband, Wally, were advancing in years and wondering which organization would benefit most from their gift of land, they sought Rae’s advice. At the time, Rae was employed by Northern Trust, and the Dennys were her clients and friends.
“The Dennys were an amazing couple; we were in awe of them,” she recalled. “They had children, but the children concurred with their desire to see the land become a community asset. The question was what organization to entrust the gift to.”
Rae, who always had a keen interest in health care and was on the Sun Health Foundation board at the time, mentioned her clients’ dilemma at a board meeting. She credits fellow board member Dick Malcomson for suggesting that Sun Health serve as the developer.
“I’ll never forget the day that we toured some of the Sun Health properties to give the Dennys some ideas,” Rae says. “It was Sun Health CFO Gary Turner, Edith, Wally and me, and the rain was just pouring down. Edith and Wally were in their late 80s. It was not an ideal day, but they were up for it.”
After the tour, the Dennys were so impressed that they decided to donate the 300-plus acres of the family’s land to Sun Health.
They were able to get from, ‘Gee whiz, what should we do?’ to ‘Yes, this is a good thing’ in a short amount of time,” Rae says.
“And that was how Sun Health Senior Living’s La Loma Village got its start,” Bob says.
Years later, the Dennys’ involvement would come full circle. Wally lived in the retirement community, as did one of their daughters, Julia Denny Sweeney.
Today, as La Loma Village gears up for a major expansion that will bring additional health, wellness and community services to Litchfield Park, Sun Health is continuing to honor the wishes of the Denny family. It’s a legacy the McMillans are proud to be a small part of.
“I’ve had so many friends who have been so complimentary about the opening of La Loma Village,” Bob says. “One said, ‘It’s the most wonderful thing that has happened to Litchfield Park.’”
Visit SunHealthFoundation.org or call 623-832-5330 for more information. To learn more about La Loma Village, visit sunhealthseniorliving.org/laloma or call 623-537-7521.