McMillan answers to a higher call
By By LYDIA GRIMES Feature Reporter
The 24th Annual Blueberry Festival will be held Saturday at Jefferson Davis Community College. Although this week's profile subject is not directly a mover and a shaker with the festival, she still has an important role to play in the up-coming event.
Jane McMillan is married to one of the top blueberry growers in the area, Tom McMillan. She is used to looking out her windows and seeing blueberry bushes to the left and right. She and her husband make sure that there are enough blueberries for each participant of the Blueberry Classic Golf Tournament to receive a pint of the succulent treat.
This year a piece of her artwork will play a role at the festival and some lucky person will be able to carry it home with them. She has done a drawing of Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant which will be used as the prize for those who join the University of Alabama Alumni Association and Friends by Saturday. Earl Cooper has acquired the drawing from McMillan and all who join the alumni will have a chance to become the owner. The fee is only $15 per person and Cooper stressed that you do not have to be an alumni of the university.
This drawing of McMillan's is only one that she has recently done. She has taken it upon herself to draw, sell and donate all monies to the Presbyterian mission field.
She was born at Eglin Air Force Base, the daughter of a member of the U.S. Air Force. As most military children, she moved around quite a bit and never attended the same school for very long. Probably the longest she ever lived in one place was when her dad was stationed in Germany.
She graduated from Fairhope High School in 1967. She loved sports and participated in them while in school. After graduation from high school she attended Faulkner Junior College in Bay Minette for a year.
Instead of finishing school she married and in 1969 she had a son, Carl Lietz. She and her husband were divorced after three years. For the next few years she struggled to make a living for herself and her small son by working in ad layout and advertising at the Pensacola News Journal. She established the ad art department at the newspaper, working her way up to ad sales in order to make more money.
After working with the newspaper for several years, she sold ads for WJLQ and WCOA radio for about three years before becoming ad manager for Cox TV.
She was remarried in 1978 but was divorced about nine years later. It was about that time that she met Tom McMillan on a boat in Destin, Fla. They were both there with other dates but they soon began to see each other and five months later they were married. She moved to Brewton and they live in the home he built several years before. The house is set in the middle of a large acreage of blueberries planted to take advantage of the space. Tom had two children, Tom and Lucy, from a previous marriage and they decided that they wanted more children.
The McMillans attend First Presbyterian Church in Brewton and it was because of her love of God that she decided to put her talent to good use.
She made a promise to draw, sell those drawings and give the money to the mission field with the church.
She set an amount of money as a goal to reach this year and says that she is over half there already. It was an idea that has grown with time and today she has as much commissioned work to do as she can handle and still look after her household. She has a work space on the third floor of her home where she uses a projection to start her drawings. She works with a photograph of her subject and projects it on her work surface. This gives her a start to the drawing which she later shades with pencil making the process go a lot faster. Her workspace is in a big playroom at the top of the house where her boys and their friends spend a lot of time.
In the meantime the McMillans are raising younger children all over again. Both Mitchell and Malcolm are good students attending Brewton city schools. They are involved in activities that keep their parents very busy.