Anderson: Outdoors enthusiast Don McMillan was an ethical shepherd

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 26, 2012 - 12:41 AM

Don McMillan influenced a wide range of people with his dedication to conservation.

Don McMillan

Don McMillan

Tuesday morning at 10, the Rev. Stephen O'Gara convened the funeral of Don McMillan, 74, of Mendota Heights, who died last week. This was at the Church of the Assumption in downtown St. Paul, the cornerstone of which was laid in 1856, the church founded by Bishop Joseph Cretin.

If there is a heart of St. Paul, and there is, it isn't nearest its tallest buildings, or at the Capitol, but here, at the Assumption, which lies not far from the Catholic Charities Dorothy Day Center, a place, as the church's historians note, "that cares for society's overlooked." It was, in fact, at the Assumption that Catholic Charities of Minneapolis and St. Paul was born, in the heart of St. Paul.

It was fitting, then, that on a sunny Tuesday morning, Don was remembered in a church whose service history befits its Christian purpose, by a crowd that might rival in size those who gather beneath its massive rounded arches on Easter morning or perhaps even Christmas Eve. For the star of the show was himself, in the end, not only a husband, father, grandfather, dentist and teacher, and a St. Paul native, but a man of service delivered, as they say, without fear or favor.

That the "outdoors'' was the beneficiary of his service was so much the better for Minnesota and Minnesotans, not least those yet unborn. Don fished. But he developed his conservation ethic fundamentally as a hunter. Credit his grandfather for setting young Don on a path that, before he was felled by a heart attack, would lead to Africa and other worldly destinations. Yet never lost on him was his relatively minor place in the grander scheme of things, and his obligation, so deeply felt, to leave behind more than he took.

"Wherever you go, there you are,'' was one of Don's favorite witticisms, recalled his son, Mark, who gave his Dad's eulogy.

Evident by those in attendance Tuesday, from Department of Natural Resources bigwigs to legislative leaders to rank and file hunters, trappers and anglers, the "there you are'' that Don left behind was keenly appreciated. Not only because he worked tirelessly on behalf of fish and wildlife and all those who love them, but because he did so with insight, passion, joy and above all, humility.

Don's intellect and socio-economic station could have kept him far removed from the two-bit high jinks of the Capitol lapdogs who each year hang for-sale signs on the state's woods, waters and fields, often while brandishing their hunting and fishing bona fides, as if those alone are credentials for anything.

His love for Minnesota and its resources demanded he argue otherwise.

His family's hope "is that someone, perhaps someone here this morning, will pick up where Dad left off,'' Mark McMillan said Tuesday.

If someone does, Minnesota would be better for it.

Dennis Anderson • danderson@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
UMBC 56
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
SMU 63 FINAL
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 71 FINAL
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 58 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
UNLV 75
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close
Don McMillan