John lost his battle with cancer on November 5, 2007, when most of his favorite flowers had wilted or died off, and the deadline for gardeners to put their plots to bed for the winter was looming. Thus it was decided that a more fitting time to commemorate his life would be around the beginning of summer when the gardens were in full bloom.
Thanks to the oversight of John's sister Dee Miller and the help of friends and other family members, a lovely memorial service held on the morning of June 28 featured remembrances, prayers, poems, and the music of John's favorite artists, the Neville Brothers and Sweet Honey in the Rock. Later that day, at the first official Minton Stable Garden barbecue of the season, a video loop gave people an opportunity to witness John's efforts and philosophy and glance at what the space looked like before the demolition of the old barn and the introduction of running water.
The highlight of the evening was the dedication of the soon-to-be-constructed sitting area under one of John's favorite trees, which culminated in the spreading of some of John's ashes around that area and along the main path. Of course, this was also a group effort. When the box was passed to me, I hesitated at first; I had never before handled cremains, let alone those of a close friend. But as I tapped the box and the dust went flying in different directions, I realized that this is what John wanted. It symbolized the seeds that John spread to establish gardens all over JP, making it a more beautiful place.