LINCOLNVILLE – USAF Maj. (Ret.) Leo T. Mills, 82, husband of Ann S. Mills, longtime residents of Lincolnville Beach, died peacefully in his home with loving family in attendance on March 27, 2014. He was born Sept. 27, 1931, the son of Martin and Katherine Kovarik Mills, of Bellaire, Ohio.
He was the father of Mary Lee Mills, formerly of New York, Michael M. Mills of Liberty and Thomas B. Mills, currently of New York.
Leo had a very strong work ethic throughout his life. After starting out at Bellaire Foundry at age 11, he worked his way through Bellaire High School driving deliveries to patrons of the local grocery store and supported his Ohio University career by working summers as surveyor on the Mass Pipe Line. Leo earned his master’s degree in social psychology from George Washington University, in one year while in the Air Force. For a brief period, Leo was known as the youngest instructor pilot for KC-97 aircraft in the Strategic Air Command, while he was stationed at the 71st Air Refueling Square, at Dow Air Base, in Bangor, where he and Ann met in 1956. Later, Leo and his family spent four years at Wiesbaden Air Base with the 7405th where he flew spying missions over Cold War restricted areas. The next year four years saw Leo inspiring the intelligent, energetic spirits of young men and women in ROTC at Colby College, who he respected so much and of whom he was so proud. Leo enjoyed his final tour of duty at the 4099th, the Military Air Advisory Group, in Taipei, Taiwan. His second career with New York Life Insurance Co., as agent and estate planner followed for about the next 20 years. In his later years, Leo served on Lincolnville’s Harbor Committee, often as its chairman and on the Budget Committee. He spearheaded efforts to build the new pier for the ferry, spending long hours licking envelopes for fundraising with friends and relatives who happened to be visiting thinking they were on vacation in Maine. As Leo’s family look back over the past 58 years, highlighted memories include Leo’s alert truck, all decorated for Christmas, including a little tree with bulbs and garland, impossibly staying straight up over the cab, flying in the wind, speeding for all its worth toward the airplanes awaiting possible take-off at Dow; the building of his beautiful duck-boat in the basement of military housing; fishing and hunting all over Maine with treasured pals; hiking with family and dogs up Bald Rock; raw Pemaquid oysters at Chez Michel’s, countless dinners at the Lobster Pound; his lobsterin’ and boating on Penobscot Bay. Most of all other things, Leo’s family and friends remember with all the love in our hearts, his gentleness, funny humor, warm feeling for his friends and loving devotion to his family.
In addition to his wife and children, Leo’s survivors include eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, Ann’s sister and brother-in-law, Mary Jane and J.D. Seale of Alabama, Leo’s cousins, Rosella Courville, Frances Riley and C.W. Spann, all of West Virginia, and Leo’s long-time friends, Tom Seymour of Waldo and Will Morrison of Ohio. Leo was predeceased by his sister, Olga Ann Mills of St. Clairsville, Ohio and a cousin, Rick Spann of West Virginia and Poukeepsie, N.Y.
A celebration of life will be held for all our family and friends on June 15 at home in Lincolnville. Burial will be held at Veteran’s Cemetery in Augusta on Monday, June 16. Funeral arrangements were by Crabiel Riposta Funeral Home, Belfast.