Nell S. Mills, the widow of Dr. Charles Kelley Mills, died on March 29, 2012 in Austin, Texas at the age of 100. A Graveside service will be held on Saturday March 31, at 10:00 a.m. at Fairview Cemetery in Gainesville, Tx with Rev. Don Yeager officating under the direction of the Geo. J. Carroll and Son Funeral Home in Gainesville, Tx.
Nell was born on November 22, 1911 in Goldwaithe, Texas to Leonard A. Skaggs and Mina Moore Skaggs. Her family eventually relocated to San Saba, Texas where her father was the town’s pharmacist. Dr. Charles Mills, M.D. FACS, the town’s medical doctor, and his wife, Doris, were the best of friends with the Skaggs, including Nell. The Mills family, including their daughters Carolyn and Judy, relocated several times and shortly after World War II settled in Gainesville. Nell, a true trailblazer of her time, both went to college and held several professional positions. Eventually, she obtained not only a Masters Degree from Texas Women's University but also her doctorate - completing her doctorate research in Textile Chemistry at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. She was widely known for her research and publications on applying vinegar and steam on cotton finish to remove or create a permanent pleat. Her education led to several university positions including Professorship at Auburn University.
Nell’s relationship with the Mills family continued, regardless of where any of the parties were living. In 1958, her wonderful friend, Doris Mills, died. In 1962, Carolyn and Judy were absolutely delighted to learn that their father had asked, and Nell had accepted, his proposal to become his wife. Nell often said that Charles was her knight in shining armor. Accordingly, Nell retired from her position as a textile chemist professor and married Charles. They continued to live in Gainesville and Lindsay. They thoroughly enjoyed socializing with their Gainesville friends, along with taking periodic travel abroad. One special trip enabled Charles and Nell to be among the earliest travelers into China. Charles Mills practiced medicine in Gainesville for over 30 years and died in 1978.
After Charles died, Nell relocated to Sun City, Arizona. As a fourth generation Texan and member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Nell decided to move back to her beloved Texas in 1996 where she took a strong hand in the design of her home in Georgetown. At age 95, she decided to move to Austin where she lived until her death. Nell enjoyed an active lifestyle literally right up to her death. She was at ease, whether it was joining with others for a trip to the symphony, going for barbeque on her 95th birthday, reading medical journals, shopping, visiting with family, or socializing with friends. Nell was also quite pleased and appreciative to have the opportunity to be included in the lives of her granddaughter Honey Weinstein’s family and friends. Nell was an incredible conversationalist and was always impeccably dressed and accessorized for the occasion, even if she was simply staying at home. She was mentally sharp to the end - at her 100th birthday celebration, Nell stood and delivered a memorable speech without notes.
Nell has always been held in the highest regard by the family members. She became the mother of Carolyn and Judy, and was adored by not only her daughters but also her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She was a member of First United Methodist Church of Gainesville, Texas and later became an original member of Wellspring United Methodist Church of Georgetown, Texas.
Nell was preceded in death by her parents, her late husband Dr. Charles Kelley Mills, her daughter Carolyn Mills Hancock, and her great-grandson Kelley Kyle Higgins, Jr.
Survivors include her daughter, Judy Mills Wendt and son-in-law Mike Wendt of El Paso, TX; son-in-law, Paul Hancock of Midland; Grandsons Finlay R. Higgins and wife Debbie of Arlington, TX, Kelley Higgins of Austin, TX, David Mills Wysong of El Paso, TX, Scott Carlin Wysong and wife Seiko of Japan; granddaughter, Honey Higgins Weinstein and husband Phillip of Austin, TX; Great-grandchildren, Charles Higgins of Norfolk, VA, Ashley Jones of Austin, TX, Michael Weinstein of Columbia, MO, Shelby Weinstein of Austin, TX, Richie and Joey Wysong of Japan.
We will all truly miss her.