Chapel Service Honors Life, Service of Student

WILMORE, Ky. — The Asbury University community gathered this morning to mourn, but also celebrate the life of Jeff McMillan, a senior who died unexpectedly on Saturday afternoon.

Students, faculty and staff were joined in a memorial Chapel service in Hughes Auditorium by local alumni, as well as friends across the United States who tuned in to the live broadcast of the service on Asbury’s radio station, WACW. For those who knew McMillan, the 1,500-plus people gathered in his honor was no surprise at all.

In addition to his studies, McMillan worked for four years in the University’s Physical Plant, the department responsible for maintaining and improving all campus facilities and grounds. According to friends, shouldering responsibility with an eager, joyful attitude was simply who he was.

“Jeff was a pillar of strength on which he carried the burdens of his friends and family,” Calvin Nurge ’11 shared with the assembly. “Every night that it’s snowed for the past three years, it was Jeff who scraped your sidewalk. And every time you’ve enjoyed the scent of freshly mown grass after a light rain, that was Jeff.”

McMillan, a Sport Management major from Florence, Ky., had been playing rugby with friends on one of the University’s intramural fields when he experienced difficulty breathing and collapsed on the field. He was transported by ambulance to the St. Joseph Jessamine, RJ Corman Ambulatory Care Center in Nicholasville. The official cause of death has not been released.

In honor of McMillan’s life, service and passion for athletics, the University will plant a crabapple tree near the George E. Luce Physical Activities Center.

“There couldn’t be a more perfect way to honor Jeff,” said McMillan’s mother, Jackie, who attended the service. “Jeff’s father and I are so grateful for the outpouring of love and friendship to Jeff that has blessed and enriched his life. Everyone at Asbury has been wonderful to honor him and take care of anything we need.

“I’m overwhelmed by the comments,” she continued, “about what Jeff meant to people at Asbury, and I know how much Asbury meant to Jeff. He felt so blessed to be here.”

Asbury University President Sandra Gray encouraged the community in Chapel with Psalm 62:8, which says, “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”

“In times of pain and sorrow, and yes, even the nagging question of ‘Why?’, we discover anew the depths of the love of God,” said Gray. “God asks us to trust him even when we can’t understand him. Jeff’s life was a testimony for Christ and will live on.”

Visitation will be held Wednesday at Christ's Chapel Church — 3819 Turfway Rd., Erlanger, Ky., 41018 (near Florence) — from 10 a.m.-Noon. Service will be Wednesday at Noon at the church followed by the burial at Burlington Cemetery (Rt. 18 in Burlington, Ky.). Memorial contributions are suggested to the family c/o P.O.Box 130, Williamstown, Ky., 41097. For additional details, visit

For any further questions, please feel free to contact the Asbury University Public Relations Office at (859) 858-3511, x2175

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