Pandora Diane MacMillan was born December 18th, 1954. She was the eldest child and only daughter of Albert and Marion MacMillan. During her early childhood in Parkdale, her father used to take her to High Park to feed squirrels and chipmunks. This led to a lifelong love of nature. When she was 13, she saw a Scarlet Tanager for the first time, and this was her “spark” bird - this encounter inspired her main hobby of birdwatching. She described the Tanager as one of the most beautiful creatures she had ever seen; most of its plumage was a brilliant glowing red, and its black wings sparkled like velvet. Her favourite bird, however, was the Goldfinch. She was always excited for their spring migration, their bright golden yellow feathers, and their cute calls.
Her parents had two more children, Pandora’s brothers Brett and Darcy. Although there were naturally the usual sibling squabbles, Pandora took the responsibilities of being a big sister seriously. During their youth in the 1960s and 70s, Pandora introduced her brothers to many of the all-time pop culture greats, such as The Beatles, Star Trek, and Lord of the Rings. The MacMillan family was always very close and loved singing and being silly together. Marion MacMillan and Darcy MacMillan passed away in 2010, and Albert MacMillan passed away in 2018.
Pandora inherited her mother’s love for literature, and obtained a BA in English from York University in 1976. She would make use of her excellent analytical and research skills as a Senior Inquiry Analyst at the Ministry of Transportation, in which she would assist members of the public with their questions related to driver licensing. She worked for the Ministry of Transportation for more than 30 years before retiring, and was always proud to have been a public servant.
In 1978, Pandora married Brian Waldron. Although their marriage would eventually end in divorce, they had three daughters: Myrna (born 1986), Rhiannon (born 1997), and Madoka (born 1998). Rhiannon passed away at 31 days old due to SIDS. Despite their divorce, Pandora and Brian remained friendly. Pandora was a truly wonderful mother who always made sure to spend time with her children. On a daily basis she would hug and kiss them and she made sure to tell them she loved them at every opportunity. Her eldest daughter Myrna followed in her footsteps, also obtaining a BA in English from York University and working at the Ministry of Transportation. Madoka is Pandora’s “rainbow baby,” a term for healthy children who were born after a previous child was lost. Madoka is autistic, and Pandora was always a fierce advocate for her youngest daughter and devoted herself to making sure that Madoka had the best care possible. Because she had grown up with two younger brothers, she often said how happy she was that she got to have daughters and experience what it would be like to see little girls growing up.
Although she had many talents, above all else Pandora considered herself to be a writer. It was her greatest dream to write creatively and have readers all over the world, and she achieved that dream thanks to the internet. In 1996 Myrna introduced her to her favourite anime TV show, Sailor Moon, and Pandora quickly became an equally enthusiastic fan. She was particularly interested in the show’s main male romantic hero, Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Mask, and began writing and publishing online fan fiction exploring his inner thoughts and his romance with the heroine, Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon. Her work caught on, and Pandora was tremendously excited to receive emails from fans all over the world. She was particularly proud that some fans in Malaysia used her fanfics to improve their English. Her fanfic writing, in addition to helping her achieve her lifelong dream, also helped her to cope with the grief of losing Rhiannon.
Pandora was also a great lover of mystery and crime stories. On any given day, Pandora might be listening to Rex Stout or Dorothy L. Sayers audiobooks, watching Law and Order: Special Victims Unit reruns, or re-reading a carefully annotated Sherlock Holmes story. She also enjoyed sewing and embroidery as a hobby, a useful skill, and an artistic outlet. She was a proud nerd/geek, with an enthusiastic appreciation for many forms of science fiction and fantasy, as well as being a fan of comic books and anime. (Madoka is named after Madoka Ayukawa from the anime Kimagure Orange Road.) She also was a great fan of film, especially those in the film noir genre and films directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Back when owning a personal computer was a niche hobby, Pandora taught herself how to use DOS, as well as some rudimentary programming. She also was fascinated by geology; she had a large collection of gemstones and mineral necklaces, and a few crystal formations. Her most recent written pieces were analysis about the symbolism of gemstones and how they related to various characters in the Sailor Moon series.
She was known for her great wit and wonderful sense of humour, and many of her friends have reflected on how kind, funny and friendly she was, and how much she loved her daughters. She was fiercely political, and proudly identified as a feminist and democratic socialist. She also had deep moral convictions; she believed in always being honest, no matter what. Although her life was not nearly as long as it should have been, it was full of love and happiness. On the last full day of her life, Pandora and her daughter Myrna had a wonderful day just enjoying each other’s company and listening to their favourite music. Her family is truly heartbroken at her loss, and she will be missed terribly.