John Million had a lifelong love affair with classical music, opera, and classic books. Before he died on March 21, 2012, he made sure that two Oak Ridge nonprofit organizations that contributed to his cultural enjoyment would benefit greatly from his legacy.
Dan Allcott, conductor of the Oak Ridge Symphony and Chorus, said: “The Oak Ridge Civic Music Association is honored to be the recipient of a significant bequest from the estate of John Million. The six-figure donation to ORCMA gives us stability during tough economic times.
“This generous gift will help perpetuate our efforts to meet our goal of providing beautiful live music, from classical to modern, to our subscribers and others in the Oak Ridge area. John Million believed in that goal, and his legacy helps us to further it.”
The Oak Ridge Civic Music Association will dedicate its “Spring in the Mountains” symphony and chorus concert on Saturday to the memory of John George Million Jr. The Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra and dulcimerist Stephen Seifert will perform Blackberry Winter by Nashville composer Connie Ellisor. The Oak Ridge Chorus, accompanied by ORSO, will sing The Bell Witch by the late McMinnville composer Charles Faulkner Bryan. Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 will also be played.
Nancy Bischoff, his friend, companion and estate executor, will be present at the concert, to be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Oak Ridge High School Performing Arts Center.
The Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning also received a significant gift from his bequest. An avid reader with a passion for learning, Million participated in many classes at ORICL in history, literature, language, music, philosophy, and science.
“We are very grateful for the Million bequest to ORICL, which included not only a significant monetary donation but also more than 800 books, 50 DVDs and 200 CDs,” said Louise Dunlap, president of the ORICL board. “Part of the John Million Library is now in the ORICL classroom in the Roane State Community College building on the Oak Ridge campus.
“This will be a circulating library for ORICL members starting this semester. After Roane State finishes its new building, ORICL will have a new classroom that the board plans to name after John Million to honor his memory.”
Million came to Oak Ridge in the late 1950s to work in the Analytical Chemistry Division at the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant (K-25). He remained there until his retirement in 1989.
Million served as president of the Woodland Neighborhood Association and on the board of the Oak Ridge Housing Authority.
He served in many capacities with the Oak Ridge Arboretum Society. His love of plants and flowers led him to build his “green room” in his Woodland home, where he raised orchids and camellias, as well as a variety of familiar and unusual plants. He also served on the boards of community activist groups.
A native of Birmingham, Ala., Million graduated from Auburn University with a major in chemistry. Bischoff called him a “Renaissance man” because of his varied interests, ranging from fencing and snorkeling to rescue pets and fine wines. He also bequeathed gifts to his church, the United Church, Chapel on the Hill, as well as the Shelter Animals Rescue Group of Oak Ridge and the East Tennessee chapter of the American Wine Society.