Wilbur T. “Wil” Mills was born July 16, 1930, in the small town of Mulberry, Florida, and passed away on December 4, 2019, after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Known as “Buddy” growing up, Wil lettered in four sports in high school, and used to recount how in a head-to-head race he once defeated the eventual state champion in the mile run. Upon graduation from high school, Wil enlisted in the United States Navy, where he would serve for nearly twenty years while attaining the rank of Chief Petty Officer.
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One of the young sailor’s first assignments was on the small island of Ponape out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It was on this remote outpost in 1950 that he happened to meet a young girl named Pat and a romance was begun, culminating the following year in an elopement to Las Vegas with Pat’s grandmother in tow as a witness. Pat’s mother and stepfather weren’t overjoyed at the time but it worked out okay. The couple would be married for the next 68 years, producing a loving family that continues to flourish today.
Wil had a talent for working with numbers and after retiring from the Navy went to work for Dial Finance Company, figuring he would be working with figures. It turned out his job consisted of trying to collect from people who were behind on their payments, to the point of repossession on one occasion, and this just wasn’t something that suited his personality. After a short stint there, he moved on to a long career at San Diego Office Supply, where he began as an “outside salesman” of business machines and supplies. Later, he went on to be the assistant manager and manager of their stores before retiring all together.
Wil took pleasure in watching his children grow, often taking them to sporting events, notably Padre games, and playing with them in the family’s big back yard. He also loved to shoot pool, play ping-pong, Yahtzee, Password, Scrabble, and other board games. He was especially fond of card games and taught his kids his favorite game of cribbage, which they all still played together until he became unable to in recent months. He was also a wonderful grandfather whose silly side would sometimes spill out while playing games with them. Each of the grandkids has special memories of their time spent with Grandpa Mills.
Wil and Pat traveled many places together, with their favorite activity being to get out on foot and see different locations up close. They especially enjoyed their trips to New York to visit their daughter and her family around the holidays. Sadly, a bout with prostate cancer and the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease some dozen years ago greatly curtailed these activities.
Wil is survived by his wife Pat and his five children Ken (Linn), David (Mary), Jerry (Julie), Jim, and Kathy Mills-Hastings (John). Beyond that, he his survived by his grandchildren Melinda Jean, Emily, Adam, Katherine, Sarah, Michael, Randy, Bree, Brittany, Max, Cole, and Korina, and sixteen great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his father Fred and mother Ruby; and brother Freddy and sister Nancy. He is survived by brother David Mills of Savannah, Georgia.
No services are planned as the family will gather in the future to celebrate his life.