Leighton Dale L. Dale Mills(1928 - 2013)

Leighton Dale (L. Dale) Mills une 2, 1928 -- January 12, 2013 L. Dale Mills passed away quietly at home in his sleep on January 12, 2013. He was born June 2, 1928 in a rural setting near Visalia, California, to parents Clayton and Corinne Mills. Dale attended local schools there, including the community college. In 1952 he graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and began his professional career with an appointment as an officer in the U.S. Navy Civil Engineering Corps. After completing Navy service, he quickly advanced through several public and private engineering positions to become San Mateo County Design Engineer. He built upon that experience to gain appointment in 1964 as Kern County's Deputy Road Commissioner. Five years of superior performance then led to his promotion to the County's Director of Public Works. He provided outstanding leadership in that key role for some 22 additional years until his retirement in 1991. Because of his demonstrated competence, numerous responsibilities were added to Dale's administrative purview over his time as Director, until his department was ultimately charged with the planning and development of essentially all elements of the County's physical infrastructure, from transportation systems to solid waste management and wastewater treatment. Major projects completed under his leadership included the County Administrative Building, the County Public Services Building and the Bena Sanitary Landfill. After retiring from his position with Kern County, he entered private practice as a consultant, and the firm of Hawley Mills Secor Consultants was active both locally and statewide until disbanded in 2011 by final partner retirements. Dale Mills' intense commitment to service was reflected in his many involvements with professional and community support organizations. He was active with such groups as the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Public Works Association, the American Academy of Environmental Engineers, the County Engineers Association of California, and the National Association of County Engineers. Dale also followed up on his early military service with 22 years in the U.S. Naval Reserve, Civil Engineering Corps, rising to the rank of Commander and acting as C.O. of the Reserve's local center. He has been a respected member of the Bakersfield Rotary Club since 1970. Dale met the love of his life, Alice Atherton, in Washington, D.C., while he was a USN Lieutenant j.g. assigned to staff duty at the Pentagon. They were married in the nation's capitol on July 11, 1954, and were subsequently blessed with a family of five children. Dale and Alice recently were able to celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary. Their children include daughters Janet Mills and Jane Mills Dunn and sons Jeffrey Mills and the late John Mills and Paula Mills. Grandchildren are Jonathan Mills, Jacob Klatt, Jennifer Elliott, Jeffrey Dunn, John Dunn, Cathrine Cushman, Natalie Mills, Jeffry Mills Jr., James Mills, Amanda Mills, Mary Patricia Shaffer, Benjamin Mills, and Jessica Mills. The family wishes to express heartfelt thanks to the many kind friends who have provided prayer, good wishes and support during Dale's recent lengthy illness. A Rosary and Funeral Mass Celebration will be held for Dale at St. Francis Church, 900 H Street, at 9:00 AM on Friday, January 25 with Reception to follow in the Hall. Pall-bears: Jeff Mills, John Dunn, Jonathan Mills, Jacob Klatt, Bryan Smith and Ken Secor. A military interment will be on Tuesday, January 29 time TBA at Bakersfield National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations either to St. Francis Catholic Charities 900 H Street Bakersfield, CA 93304 or to Teen Challenge - Shafter 650 Riverside Avenue Shafter, CA 93263. www.bakersfield.com/obits

Published in Bakersfield Californian on Jan. 18, 2013