Celeste Mills

MILLS, Celeste Celeste Mills passed away peacefully in her sleep on August 26, 2013 after a lengthy battle against breast cancer. To those who knew her, Celeste's courage, resilience, good humor, and warmth, during even the worst of times, are legendary. A Los Angeles native, Celeste is survived by her beloved sister, Susan Breen, and cherished nephew, Damien Breen, both of Los Angeles. Ever a free spirit, Celeste's interests were varied, including abalone diving in Santa Barbara and Lahaina, and playing the slots in Las Vegas with her sister, where they often laughed until they cried. She was Credit Manager of a major medical laboratory, forging a treasured friendship there that lasted her lifetime. Later, she became a professional hypnotherapist, assisting a devoted and appreciative clientele. Mostly, though, magic and the breeding and training of Golden Retrievers were her passions.
Celeste was a magician member of the Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA, where she performed close-up magic for other magicians and guests. When not performing at the Castle, she assisted with its Audition Committee, judging the abilities of prospective candidates seeking to become magician members of the Castle. The Magic Castle will hold a Broken Wand Ceremony for Celeste, a special remembrance for magicians who pass on. The ceremony will be held at the Magic Castle on a date to be determined. Those wishing further information can write to Mnewman@magiccastle.com. Celeste bred and trained champion Golden Retrievers, who won numerous titles in confirmation, obedience, and agility. In 2008, Celeste received the AKC Outstanding Sportsmanship Award, a special recognition for her contribution to the purebred dog community. She was also a CGC Evaluator for AKC, training and testing dogs for the Canine Good Citizen program, and a Trainer and Evaluator (one of the first in the U. S.) for the AKC S.T.A.R. (Socialization-Training-Activity-Responsibility) Program. Celeste was an active member of the Ventura County Dog Fanciers Association and served as its Corresponding Secretary (2007-2008), President (2008-2009), Past President (2009-2010) and Director (2010-2011 and 2011-2012). At Celeste's request, no memorial service is planned. Instead, a reception celebrating her life will be held on October 6, 2013. Those wishing further information can write to susan.k.breen@gmail.com. In lieu of flowers or cards, Celeste requested that donations be made to the Ventura County Sheriff's K-9 Search and Rescue Team, Attn: Mike Grossman, 5390 Gabbert Rd., Moorpark, CA 93021, or the Dai Vernon Fund at the Magic Castle, Attn: M. Newman, 7001 Franklin Ave., Hollywood, CA 90028.

Published in the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 8, 2013