Millard P. Plumlee Jr., 91, of West Lafayette, IN, died at 9:40 AM Friday, July 5, 2013 at St. Elizabeth Central Hospital of Lafayette, IN. He was born July 14, 1921, in Celina, Tennessee to the late Ollie Hamilton and Millard P. Plumlee Sr. and was raised on a tobacco farm.
He graduated from Celina High School in 1939. In 1944 he received a B.S. in Agriculture from Tennessee Polytechnic Institute, a degree which was presented in absentia. While there, he was also a varsity athlete. He taught elementary school in Tennessee 1 year from 1941-42. Then came the war and he did what many chose to do, he served in the United States Navy from June 1942 to June 1953. He served as Lieutenant in the Amphibious Forces in the Southwest Pacific Theatre on LST 562 and LST 181 from 1943-1946. In July 1, 1943, he was called to active duty in the Navy. He spent 4 months at Purdue University; 3 mo. at Columbia University; 3 mo. at small boat school, Fort Pierce, Florida; 2 yrs. overseas duty aboard a ship in SW Pacific Theatre.
May, 1946 - Placed on inactive duty in Navy with the rank of Lt. JG.
In 1946-48, he was a Graduate student at Purdue University, where he received an MS in animal nutrition in June, 1948.
1948-51 - Research Assistant with U.T.A.E.C. Agricultural Research Program, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Sept. 1951 to Sept. 1952 - Graduate Research Fellow at Purdue
Sept. 1952 - Appointed Instructor in Animal Husbandry
He received his Ph.D. in animal nutrition in 1953 from Purdue University
July, 1953 - Appointed Assistant Professor of Animal Husbandry at Purdue
1954 - Honorably discharged from Navy Reserve
April, 1957 - Promoted to Associate Professor at Purdue
Nov. 1957 - Nov. 1958 - Chairman of Nutrition Section of American Society of Animal Production
July 1, 1962 - Promoted to Professor at Purdue
He was author of some 60 technical papers dealing with radioisotope usage in large animal research and mineral requirements and metabolism of laboratory animals, cattle, sheep and swine, both at Purdue and U.T.A.E.C. Agricultural Research Program, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Member of many groups including : Co-founder of Indiana Forage Council, President, Indiana Forage Council, Board of Directors of Indiana Forage Council, Board of Directors of American Forage & Grassland Council, Member of Purdue Radiological Control Committee, and Member of the Purdue U. Animal Care and Use Committee, Chairman since 1976, Professional Societies: Sigma Xi, Alpha Zeta, American society of animal science, C.A.S.T., ARPAS, and Gamma Sigma Delta. Member of Rotary from 1983 til the present. He pretty much quit coming 5 years ago when his hearing got to the place that he could not hear what was being said. He worked in the Animal Science Department at Purdue University from 1953 until retiring in 1987 as professor of animal nutrition. He pioneered the use of radioisotopes in mineral metabolism studies with cattle and swine in Oak Ridge, TN, and published sixty refereed research papers and abstracts. He owned and operated crop and livestock farms in Tippecanoe County from 1955 to 2010. He married Evelyn Lucille Moody of Knoxville, TN, his wife of 63 years, on December 24, 1949 and she survives.
He had five children: Joan… of Knoxville, TN., whose husband Victor was the Mayor of Knoxville Tn and an ambassador to Poland; Mary .. of Angola, IN.; Martha..of Carmel, N.Y; Claude Plumlee, …of Carmel, IN; and M.P. "Perky" Plumlee III … of Winona Lake, IN. He had 10 grandchildren, some of whom helped make him famous as basketball players for Duke and now one is playing for the Indianapolis Pacers and another for the Brooklyn Nets. He had one great grandson.
His specialty was on ruminating animals. That includes cud chewing critters with multiple stomachs like cows, camels and deer. He raised some of the best corn fed beef in the county and was a pretty decent corn grower. Millard loved to garden and shared the bounty he grew and the knowledge he had to many friends and neighbors. My wife and I had the good fortune to be among those neighbors who enjoyed his company, his stories, his family, and his produce.
He always introduced himself as Millard and after you knew him …he was Percy. A fabulous neighbor who always was willing to help you any way he could.
A few stories:
One of Millard’s unique abilities was to stand in the middle of a doorway and kick the top of the doorframe.
One time he was observed going to the funeral visitation of a person in Battleground. Percy was not particularly fond of the individual and was asked why he was going. The response was that he just wanted to make sure that the guy was really in the coffin.
He had a part in a field day of the ag department one fall season and most of the staff was present as well as visitors. He announced that the Dean would have been present, but that today is the opening day of hunting season.
He especially enjoyed the Ag fish fries in the old armory building. One time someone at the front door passed out apples. Much enjoyment was had by all when Eli Lilly turned loose a pig who liked apples and went around sniffing everyone’s pocket.
Plumleeisms: as delivered by his son at the funeral.
"Although Dad was best known as a professor of animal nutrition, he taught his family many life lessons on a variety of other topics. The following is a sampling of Dad’s principles to live by that illustrate his wisdom and provide insights into his perspective on life:
Always be thinking about something – don’t let your mind drift. Don’t let your body control your mind, make your mind control your body.
2. Personal Appearance/Fashion
Comb your hair
Shave your face
Shine your shoes
Otherwise, dont’s spend much time thinking about how you look.
3. Auto Mechanics
Don’t worry about how shiny your car is, think about the engine
Check your oil
Check your tires
Check your oil again
Keep an extra quart of oil in your trunk just in case.
Get the rocks out of your field, and don’t just plow around them year after year like some of our neighbors do
Never hurt a tree, (He loved trees and planted them often just as the founder of Rotary, Paul Harris did)
Plant a big garden
Share your garden with others, but make them pick their own
Maintain your side of the fence
Keep the weeds down
Find the best farmer in your area and ask him how he does it
Be kind to animals, but remember that animals are not people
Don’t go into the house until the job is done.
Watch the game and don’t yell at the referees
Cheer for your team and leave the other team alone
Never leave until the game is over
Practice the right moves
Don’t try to be fancy
Play to win
Play your hardest when the chips are down
Run on your toes.
6. Interpersonal Skills
Give a firm handshake
Look them in the eye
Talk loud enough so that people can hear you
Tell them you’re a Plumlee.
Keep your promises
Learn how to work hard
Tell your children you love them
Keep moving forward……."
He did so, … until the end. Thanks to Percy a great neighbor, …educator, ….and friend. Percy, I know that where you are going, the corn yields are better and the beef more tender, but they may need your help.