Mills was a good man who wwill be missed
December 2, 2004
I am saddened to report that my neighbor Lloyd W. Mills, 77, died Nov. 19 at his home in Wellington.
He was born in Muskegon, Mich., on July 11, 1927 to Charles and Nora Mills.
He enlisted in the Navy and served on the USS Plaice, SS-390 from 1945 to 1948.
On his return to Muskegon, he enrolled at Rensselaer Polytechnic to study civil engineering and also became a home builder.
I first met Mills in March 2002, when I went to talk with him about the straw-bale solar house he was building. A sign in front invited everyone to watch this energy saving project develop.
“The stated purpose of this project is to provide a sustainable energy efficient home avoiding the normal high energy used by most homes today.
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Energy conservation is the name of the game,” Mills once told me.
He patiently explained how straw-bales would act as insulation and solar panels would turn solar energy into electricity.
Mills wanted to build a house that was energy efficient, good for the environment and a challenge for him. He was always smiling and eager to show you the progress of his straw-bale house.
Recently I talked with his son Randy Mills and daughter Debbie Mills about the life of this remarkable man.
“He tried to sneak in the Navy when he was 16 and they would have taken him but his eyes were bad. He swears he went home and drank carrot juice everyday. He turned orange. He went back and tested and he passed at 17,” Randy told me.
“My dad got tired of all that cold in Michigan and we attempted to move to Florida but after a couple of hurricanes he said ‘We’re out of here; we’re going to move to California.'”
Moving to Seal Beach, California Mills worked as a civil engineer in Long Beach and Pasadena, Calif.
Mills and his wife June moved to Palm Springs enjoying the desert and trips to Idyllwild until her death from cancer in 1987.
“When mother died he sold the house in Palm Springs and we all helped build a nice house for him in Idyllwild.
He loved the cooler climate and could see San Clemente and the ocean on a good day,” Randy said.
After 10 years, Mills left Idyllwild to find a place with more land to build on and in 2000 he bought a mobile home on the Carson River in Gardnerville and used that as a base camp to look for his property.
He finally settled in Wellington and started building his straw bale house.
“My brothers and I would come up to visit and say ‘Hey Pops have you been up to that pass over there yet? Let’s go. Hey have you tried out that hot springs? Lets go soak.’ He was so outgoing. He was always working with his hands,” Randy said.
“When he met his new neighbor Matt he told him, ‘I’m Lloyd Mills and I’m the most uncivil civil engineer you will ever meet,” Matt just cracked up.
“Everybody knew you could pull in anytime, have a cold beer, sit down and enjoy the view.”
His daughter Debbie Mills, a nurse, took care of her father during the last weeks of his illness.
“After he came home from the hospital my dad said he would like a little memorial and he wanted some horses and everyone to come in country western style dress of the 1890’s. We had a small memorial service at his home and everyone dressed up Ð cowboys and everything. He was asked one time what part of your life was your favorite and he would say ‘right now.’ He had a young spirit,” Debbie said.
Mills is survived by his brother, Jack Mills, of Virginia Beach, S.C.
His five children include, Debbie Mills, Huntington Beach, Calif.; Greg Mills, Newport Beach, Calif.; Randy Mills, Surfside, Calif.; Vicki Mills, Utah; Brad Mills, Huntington Beach, Calif.
He also had six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Lloyd Mills will be missed.
— Carolyn Purkiss can be reached at 266-9482 or by e-mail at email@example.com.