William Stephen "Steve" McMillen, 74, of Columbus, Ohio, died at 12:34 a.m. on Saturday, February 1, 2020.
Born on November 24, 1945, in Crossville, Tennessee, he was the son of Gordon A. and Barbara (Resor) McMillen. At the time of his birth, the McMillen family was living in Tennessee while Steve's father worked on the Manhattan Project, an effort to develop a functional atomic weapon.
Steve graduated from Van Wert High School in 1964.
Steve honorably served in the US Army during the Vietnam War and following an injury in November 1967, he was awarded a Purple Heart.
Steve lived life fully, with vigor and without fear. In 1969, he raced across the Bonneville Flats and into the record books, capturing a land speed record of 114.904 mph on his British BSA motorcycle. He was also a licensed pilot and delighted friends and family with trips here and there, once skillfully landing his plane in the darkness without the aid of lighting on the airstrip in Van Wert.
Inheriting his father's inquisitive mind and an aptitude for engineering, he enjoyed figuring things out. Many remember his ability to fix almost anything, a skill that served him well throughout his life.
He worked for the US Postal Service for several years, was employed by a newspaper in Columbus and enjoyed his latter years as a caretaker for the historic Union Cemetery in Columbus. He enjoyed the peace and solitude of the cemetery and helped loved ones find what they were looking for.
Steve had a passion for gardening and was known for his prize-winning sunflowers. He delighted in the migration patterns and habits of hummingbirds, contemplated the paths of airplanes overhead, mused at the beauty of sunset and considered the constellations above. He sought greater understanding and held a deep sense of wonder about the world around him.
He will be remembered for his great kindness, giving nature and living life his own way.
Steve is survived by his daughter, Jennifer, a son-in-law and three grandchildren. He is also survived by a twin sister, Sue (Dan) Knight of Fort Wayne, Indiana; a brother, Kent (Linda Prill) McMillen of Van Wert; a sister Francesca (Ben Lobue) McMillen of Grand Junction, Colorado; and Kathy (Doug) DeCamp of Florida; nieces Erin McMillen, Rhonda Perry, Melissa Friemoth, Theresa Thompson, Angela Parker and Shelley Kohagen; nephews Greg DeCamp and Tim Winans; extended family and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents.
A Celebration of Life will be held from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, February 29, 2020, at the Purdue Fort Wayne Alumni Center's Grand Lobby, 1528 East California Road, Fort Wayne.
Memorials may be given to the final expense fund in care of DeMoney-Grimes Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Dr., Columbia City, Indiana 46725. To send Steve's family condolences online, visit www.demoneygrimes.com.
I am so sorry for the loss of your father. You are in my prayers for peace and comfort through this sad time.
May each of you find courage to face tomorrow as you rest in the knowledge that we truly care about each of your needs and that we will walk beside you in your journey of grief.
Brett Gerber, Randy Grimes, Kris Hardiman and the Staff of DeMoney-Grimes Funeral Home
I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Pam Kanney Ekey
Thinking of your family at this time ! Great guy ! One of the old neighbor hood friends ! Vickie Taylor Foster
We had some good times. Especially at the Bonneville salt flats! Don Hire
Memories I have of Steve were very few since we only got to know each other within the last two years.
I remember the first time I met him very quiet and grateful when I offered him an increase in his hourly rate. The first year he basically was just a backup Security officer for our full time Security then the second year I put him on the weekend schedule so we had double security staff. I always made sure I included him in any bonuses and increases for our employees.
This past December I invited him to our annual employee luncheon that was catered by Schmidts German Sausage Haus. Some of the employees had no idea who he was since he only worked weekends and usually after our outside crew had left for the day.
One time he was working and the Iron Gate at Gate house of the main cemetery entrance had come loose from its welding and hinges and fell towards him he scrambled to try and escape and landed in the bushes just in front of the gate. The gate had him wedged in the bushes and he was screaming for help and a couple of guys happened to come along and helped him. That was such a scary day for him as he was working alone and all staff had left for the day.
He did not get hurt so much physically but more mentally. He always told me GOD was looking out for me that day and to this day I believe him.
He was very lucky he did not get severely injured. I kept asking him afterwards if he was okay and he would always say just a couple of scratches that’s all.
More recently we had an issue with the remote control to our company car that Security would use on the weekends to patrol saying Low battery. Steve took it upon himself to get us a new battery and left it for us to place in the remote the following Monday.
I offered to pay him for it and he said it was only 1.00 at the Dollar Tree, it is the least I can do for you since you are so good to me.
Another thing he would do is if he was using the company vehicle and it got below a quarter of a tank he would get nervous and go put 10 dollars cash in it. He would leave a receipt saying I put gas in the car it was getting low LOL.
He was a very quiet timid man, however I heard he was a feisty guy in his earlier years. He may have been a small guy but he had a whopper of a temper years ago from what I was told.
Anyways I wish I had more stories to share about Steve.
HE WAS TRULY A WONDERFUL NICE CARING GUY AND HE WILL BE GREATLY MISSED. He always was so helpful with families when they were visiting the cemetery. When he would come in to report for work he would be so quiet sometimes you would not even know he came into the building at all. Always so pleasant never complained or had anything negative to say. Always seem to be so chipper. Guys like him are so far and few anymore. GOD IS WATCHING OVER YOU FOR SURE NOW STEVE. :)
Jimmie J. Blevins
Union Cemetery Association
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