John Wesley Mills, Jr. passed at his residence in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday November 25, 2012 at age 80. "Wes" as he was known to all, was a long-time resident of Atlanta. He was born in Lake City, Florida in 1931, the son of John W. Mills, Sr. and Lillie Smithson Mallory Mills. Wes spent his youth swimming and fishing in the lakes of Lake City, before entering the University of Florida. His studies were put on hold as he entered the United States Navy, returning to the University of Florida four years later to earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. After graduation, Wes began his career in the insurance industry in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he met his wife of 53 years, Sarah Turnage Mills. Wes and Sarah soon settled in Atlanta after a brief stint in Richmond, Virginia and went on to have four children. Wes became well-known in the Atlanta insurance brokerage circles as a "master" at corporate insurance structuring and underwriting, and served as Vice President, Sr. Vice President and President of insurance brokerages such as The London Agency, Johnson and Higgins, Garlington Hardwick, Alexander and Alexander, and Boger, Reid and Flournoy. In addition to his insurance acumen, Wes spent time as a deacon at Northside Drive Baptist Church, a baseball coach and director at Northside Youth Organization (NYO) and "saved" his beloved Pawleys Island, SC from overdevelopment, later being elected to the Pawleys Island Town Council. Wes was a life member of the Capital City Club and an avid Atlanta Braves and Florida Gator fan. Wes was loved and respected by all who knew him and will be greatly missed. In the last few years, Wes battled illness, and the family would like to thank his long-time physicians, Dr. William Kenny, Dr. Sheldon Shore and Dr. Richard Hengle for "keeping him going". Wes is survived by his wife, Sarah, and his children John W. Mills, III of Atlanta, Bert T. Mills and his wife Carmen of Atlanta, Carolyn Mills Lovell and her husband Rick of Batesburg, SC, and Andrew S. Mills and his wife Mary of Atlanta. He is also survived by his seven grandchildren, Justin Mills, Anna Mills, Hannah Mills, Wesley Mills, Jonah Mills, Jared Mills and Noah Mills, all of Atlanta. Go Gators! Services will be held on Friday, November 30 at 2:00 pm at the Episcopal Church of the Atonement at 4945 High Point Rd. NE, Sandy Springs, GA 30342 with reception immediately following in the Parish Hall. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Episcopal Church of the Atonement.
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Published in Lake City Reporter on Nov. 28, 2012