Richard Mills

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Richard Michael Mills, Jr. Richard Michael Mills, Jr, 'Mike' to most, 'Chief' to many, passed peacefully at 5:45 a.m. Monday, June 11, 2012 with his wife, children and father-in-law at his side after a brief, hard fought battle with stomach cancer at his home in Eskridge, KS. Mike was born August 6, 1962, to Richard Mills, Sr and Evon (Lungstrum) O'Brien in Topeka, KS, he graduated Mission Valley High School, Eskridge in 1980, married Rita Thompson-Mills, Harveyville, KS in 1983, their union welcomed Melanie Ann in 1986 and Christopher James Michael in 1989, they continue the journey. He was preceded by his Grandparents Oscar and Dora Lungstrum, Topeka, KS, George and Odessa Mills, TX, Uncle Robert Mills, Liberty Hills, TX, and mother-in-law Ann Thompson, Harveyville. Mike's passion from the beginning was firefighting where he started his career as a volunteer for Dover Fire while still in high school. Upon graduation, he was hired by Mission Township Fire as an Assistant Chief 1980-85 and Stormont Vail Ambulance Service, Hospital Ambulance Service and Medevac Ambulance Service. He then moved on to Topeka- Tecumseh Fire where he spent 27 years moving up the ranks from fire fighter/emt to Assistant Chief and eventually Chief. During his tenure there he watched the department grow from two stations to three, change names to Shawnee Heights Fire District, add a training facility which was used by all departments within Shawnee County as well as a few outside the county and also hosted many State fire fighting classes. He was a trainer for KU Fire Service, worked towards his fire science degree and eventually became a certified fire investigator. He ended his career with the Potawatomi Tribal Fire Department, Mayetta, KS as Director of Emergency Services, better known as their Fire Chief the past five years. He was a member of Kansas State Fire Fighters Association, Kansas State Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Arson Investigators, Kansas Chapter, and served on the Board for the Harveyville Fire Department. He was a member of the Mission Valley Chapter of the FFA, and his talent led him to the honor of being in the National FFA Band for two years. He was a 4-H member and continued with 4-H being a leader in his children's club where he also served as a 4-H camp counselor which he enjoyed as much, if not more, than the kids. He enjoyed his 'man cave' where he tinkered with small engines, dabbled in woodworking, taught his children the basics of vehicle maintenance and mechanics, woodworking and electrical work. His other passion was his children, wife, family and friends. He became 'daddy #2' to many of the children's friends over the years. Enjoyed short jaunts and traveling backroads with his wife and quiet visits with friends. Last, but certainly not least, was his love of playing the drums. If there was music playing, his thumbs were drumming the steering wheel, his belt buckle, his toes were carrying the beat or he was 'air drumming' a wild solo. He enjoyed playing in the band Close Enough with his brother Matt Mills, sister-in-law Danyel and 'brother' Phil Wainwright, and for a time, compadre` Mike Higgins. The man could sit down and play anything but was totally humble about his talent. He could often be heard saying to one of his fellow fire fighters, We're here to help the folks. and that he did. Survivors include his love of 35+ years, Rita Thompson-Mills, Eskridge, KS, daughter Melanie Mills-Bergers (Josh), Topeka, KS, son Christopher James Michael CJ Mills, Eskridge, KS, mother Evon O'Brien, Topeka, KS, Father Richard Mills, Sr (Rosita), Apple Valley, CA, brothers Matt Mills (Danyel), Dover, KS, Gary O'Brien (Deb Bridson), Topeka, KS, Steve Mills (Amber), Fullerton, CA, Chris Mills (Joy), Los Angeles, CA, grandson Nokose Bear Bergers, nieces and nephews, Jack and Jake Mills, Cameron and Madeline O'Brien, Jake Mills, Mathilda Mills and father-in-law Jim Thompson, Eskridge, KS, as well as his brother and sisters of the fire/emergency services and a multitude of wonderful friends. There will be visitation with family Friday evening, June 15, 6:00-8:00, Mission Valley High School and Memorial Services held Saturday, June 16, 11:00a..m. also at Mission Valley at which Mike requested all Fire and EMS personnel in attendance please wear their uniforms if they have one and asked to be seated in the fire department section upon arrival for the services. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Mike Mills Benefit Fund c/o Core First Bank, 4900 SW 29th St., Topeka, KS 66614 to be dispersed at a later date. Piper Funeral Home, St. Marys is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to www.piperfuneralhome.com Richard Michael Mills, Jr.
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Piper Funeral Home
714 Maple St. Marys, KS 66536
785-437-2222
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Published in Topeka Capital-Journal from June 12 to June 13, 2012
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