"In his 34 short years he touched more lives than more people do in a lifetime," said Carl Pierce, Senior Pastor of Memorial Church of God in Christ from Baltimore, Maryland.
Marco McMillian was described by a few of the lives he touched as humble, hardworking and a natural born leader. During his funeral Saturday morning, people from as far away as Arizona told stories, giving testament to the man McMillian was.
"He worked tirelessly, tireless hours in the office," says Carter Womack, McMillian's God Father and Fmr. International President of Phi Beta Sigma, "I would catch Marco working until 10, 11 o'clock at night. He used to sleep in the office when projects needed to get done."
McMillian's body was found nearly two weeks ago in Coahoma County behind a Mississippi River.
During Saturday's funeral service, Pauline Rhodes, McMillian's supervisor during his senior year of high school and current Superintendent of Education in Coahoma County, said if there was a charge, McMillian would lead it. She added, "He was never one to back down from controversy. He was not afraid to take on the system, and, boy, did he take on the system."
High School senior class president, Jackson State University Student Government president, youngest executive director for Phi Beta Sigma: McMillian held many leadership roles during his life, but it was Mayor of Clarksdale that he told others God called him to do.
"I said, ‘Why you coming to Clarksdale? It's a $40,000 pay cut if you get elected in a small town,'" says Womack, "He told me, ‘God told me to come back, that there are things happening in the community for African American students, economic poverty, etc.' He said. ‘I'm coming back to give back to the community.'"
Pierce went on to say during the service that McMillian's vibrant life was taken too soon, ‘but what's too soon when you complete your assignment? Take rest sweet brother; we'll see you in the morning.'"
McMillian's fraternity established the Marco W. McMillian Sigma Beta Club Endowed Scholarship for their fraternity brother. Donations can be sent to:
The Sigma Beta Club Foundation, Inc.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
145 Kennedy Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20011
Lawrence Reed, 22, is charged with murdering Marco McMillian. The autopsy for McMillian could take two weeks to one month to complete, officials say. Family says McMillian was beaten and burned.
Congressmen have called on his death to be investigated as a hate crime. Those close to McMillian say he was an openly gay man, that there is increasing concern among many that he may have been murdered because of his sexuality.