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John Melvin Mills 1923-2008

Nov 13, 2008

A memorial service for John Mills of Emmetsburg will be held Friday, Nov. 14, at the Joyce Funeral Home in Emmetsburg. The Rev. David Biddle will officiate.

Visitation will begin at 10 a.m.. The memorial service begins at 11 a.m., followed by a luncheon at the Holy Family Parish Center.

Burial will be in Evergreen Cemetery, Emmetsburg. Full military honors will be conducted by members of VFW Post #2295.

Mr. Mills, 85, died Monday, Nov. 10, at Lakeside Lutheran Home in Emmetsburg. During his two and a half years at Lakeside his family expanded to include the loving, compassionate Lakeside staff.

John Melvin Mills was born May 17, 1923, in Estherville, one of 11 children born to Arlie Harrison and Frances (Carson) Mills. He attended school in Graettinger.

A Navy veteran of World War II, John served on several ships and was engaged in battles in the western Pacific, including Guam, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. His was the 13th ship to enter Tokyo Bay for the surrender of Japan and the end of hostilities. He served on the initial Japan Occupational Force and was honorably discharged upon his return home. Like most veterans of this war, he was quiet about the fighting, but it is known that he was the director for a gun mount that shot down several kamikaze aircraft, saving the ship from destruction.

On Feb. 25, 1944, John Mills and Marjorie Helen Weir were married in St. Paul, MN. They initially made their home in Graettinger before moving to Emmetsburg. They also lived in Pixtown, SD and Algona before returning to Emmetsburg in 1960 to the family home they built at 1602 Lawler.

John spent most of his working years driving trucks, however he also served as a Justice of the Peace and a Police Radio Dispatcher for several years in Emmetsburg. In the 1940s and 1950s he worked construction on the Fort Randall Dam in South Dakota and also at Thule, Greenland, helping to build the United States Defense Early Warning (DEW) Radar facility and Air Force Base. John was a lifetime member of VFW Post # 2295 and a past member of the peace officers organization. John was proud to be a life-long Democrat and was thrilled to cast his vote in last week’s election.

Generous to others, it is said no person ever left his house hungry. John also once picked up a hitch-hiker who was trying to get to Chicago to visit his sick daughter, and drove the man all the way from Emmetsburg to the Illinois border. John always enjoyed family events, from the Mills family reunions, to Fourth of July festivities, to singing carols around the Christmas tree. Celebrations with family meant the world to him.

John was preceded in death by his parents; an infant son Gerald Earl Mills; his brothers Earl, Dale, Kenneth, Don and Alvin; and his sister Alice Ploghoft.

Mr. Mills is survived by his wife, Marge; two daughters, Judy (John) Chihak, and Cheryl (Kevin) Kelly; two sons, Ken (Carol) Mills and Daniel (Lisa) Mills. Also surviving are his sisters Eva (Stan) Kotula, Betty Pompe and Shirley Funk and his brother Robert Mills. Surviving grandchildren include grandsons Ben and Andy Chihak, Ned and Nicholas Kelly; granddaughters Michele Mills, Melanie (Robbye) Ron, Jaclyn Mills, and Kellie (Dustin) Luurtsema. He had three great grandchildren, Nicholas Luurtsema, Diego Ron and Mateo Ron.

John is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Online condolences: www.joycefuneralhomes.com