Planting Deep Roots to Honor a Friend

WILMORE, Ky. — Friends and family of Jeff McMillan, an Asbury student who died unexpectedly last October, honored him with the dedication of a tree Friday on the campus he had worked to nurture.

plaque%20interior.jpgMcMillan worked with Asbury’s physical plant for four years, often on a grounds crew, while taking classes toward a degree in Sport Management. He collapsed unexpectedly while playing a pick-up rugby game with friends on an intramural field on campus. A Profusion Crabapple tree and plaque in his honor have been planted adjacent to the University’s varsity soccer field.

“We’re thankful to have Jeff honored like this,” said Greg, Jeff’s father. “Asbury has been so good to us and has blessed us.”

A time for sharing favorite memories of Jeff revealed a personality that was both considerate and generous as well as a bit playful. Major Upton, one of Jeff’s colleagues in the Physical Plant, recounted an afternoon in which he and Jeff spent time cleaning out the steam tunnel that runs beneath a high-traffic sidewalk on campus. When Jeff saw that an access panel opened up directly in front of the cafeteria, he made a point to burst from the ground, exclaiming, “What year is this?”, much to the surprise of onlooking students.

“I took Jeff with me everywhere I went because, for one thing, I knew he would be of great aid and we would accomplish the task, and I knew we would have fun,” Upton said.

The tree planted in honor of Jeff McMillian is located near the athletic fields on Asbury's campus.
The tree planted in honor of Jeff McMillian is located near the athletic fields on Asbury's campus.

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