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Dean Mills, 69, of Bartlesville, died at 6:10 P.M. on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at the St. John Medical Center in Tulsa. Memorial services will be held at 2 P.M. Sunday, December 15, 2013 at the Lyon Fine Arts Center on the Oklahoma Wesleyan University campus with Rev. Larry Johnson of Rock Springs, Wyoming officiating. Graveside services will be held at 10 A.M. Monday at the Memorial Park Cemetery directed by the Stumpff Funeral Home & Crematory.
The Mills family will receive guests for visitation at the Stumpff Funeral Home on Saturday evening from 5 P.M. until 7 P.M.
A memorial has been established for the Joyful News Home, an orphanage/home for boys that have been rescued from the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal. Those who wish may send their contributions to: Global Partners, Joyful News Home-Nepal, WMO6-1448, P.O. Box 50434, Indianapolis, IN 46250.
Dean Mills was born July 5, 1944 in Rapid City, SD to Hugh and Mae Mills, the third of five children. His beloved Kansas City Street neighborhood included the Wesleyan Church on one side and Jefferson Elementary School on the other side, where he established many life long friendships. He graduated from Rapid City High School in 1962. On August 23, 1963 he married his high school sweet heart, Peggy Carr. He graduated from Miltonvale Wesleyan College with a degree in theology in 1966. Following college, they moved to California where he served as youth pastor at the Whittier Wesleyan Church and became an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church. Due to a teacher shortage in California at the time, he received a grant from USC to complete a degree in education. He taught in the Hacienda-LaPuente School District for the next 25 years, with most of those years spent as an Industrial Arts Woodshop Teacher. He was a master woodworker. He also officiated high school football, basketball, soccer and wrestling as well as owned a roofing business. He worked long and hard during the school year in order that he and his family could spend summers in South Dakota. Beginning with his first 47 Chevy hot rod, he had a life-long passion for cars and racing. He enjoyed several years as a co-driver on an off-road race team. He never missed the Pomona Winternationals while living in California, loved to watch sprint cars at Ascot, stock cars at Rapid Valley Raceway and attend a NASCAR race anywhere he had a chance.
Due to health conditions agitated by years of sawdust and smog, the family moved to Bartlesville, OK in 1990 beginning a twenty three year "ride" of driving bus for sports teams at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. His favorite part of the trip was doing a victory lap around the circle in front of the mansion, continuously honking the horn regardless of the late night hour. The highlight of his years of driving was transporting the 2009 men's basketball team to the NAIA National Tournament in Branson when they won the national championship. He was quick to flash his championship ring and proud to tell you he was the only bus driver he knew that had a national championship ring. He has also worked as score keeper for men's and women's basketball for twenty three years. He was honored with the President's Award at the 2011 OKWU Homecoming, recognizing his years of volunteer service to university athletics.
Dean is survived by his wife Peggy Mills of Bartlesville, two sons, Eric Dean Mills and wife Susan of Bettendorf, IA, Chad Mills and wife Vinessa of Wagoner, Ok; two sisters, Kay Hobbie and husband Roger of Flandreau, SD Vickie Kilmer and husband Rick of Goddard, KS; two brothers, Jack Mills and wife Jeannine, of Sioux Falls, SD and Hugh Mills, Sioux Falls, SD; mother-in-law, Kathleen Boland, sister-in-law Judy Carr, brother-in-law Wes Carr, all of Rapid City, SD; sister-in-law Lorraine Schleuning and husband Dave of Warner Robins, GA and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews and the joy of his life, his six grandchildren, Reagan Dean, Katelyn and Hope Mills of Bettendorf, IA and Judson Dean, Adeline and Aubrey Mills of Wagoner, Ok. He was preceded in death by his parents.
As a young man, Dean committed his life to Jesus Christ. His servant heart and generosity towards people was driven by his early and ongoing commitment to Jesus. Because of his faith in Jesus Christ and the power of His resurrection, we rejoice that Dean is now in the presence of Jesus. The entire family was blessed to have spent the week of Thanksgiving together in celebration of Dean & Peggy's 50th wedding anniversary. We will treasure the memories of that time together as a family for the rest of our lives.
Dean never met a stranger. He will always be remembered for his warm smile, hugs, his generosity and kind spirit.
Friends who wish may sign the online guest book and leave condolences at www.stumpff.org.
Stumpff Funeral Home & Crematory
1600 Southeast Washington Boulevard
Bartlesville, OK 74006
Published in Examiner-Enterprise from Dec. 13, 2013 to Jan. 12, 2014