ASTORIA - Kenneth Dean Mills, 68, died Dec. 12, 2002 in Astoria, Ore. The son of Russell and Margarette (Desenberger) Mills, he was born Oct. 15, 1934 in Marshfield, Wis. At an early age he moved to Salina, Kan. Following the divorce of his parents he was adopted by the Stephens family and moved to Mountain Home, Ark. where he received his education and graduated from high school. An outstanding student, he was senior class president, valedictorian and lettered in basketball.
Following high school Mr. Mills moved to The Dalles, Ore. In 1957, he joined the United States Army and served six years. Returning to The Dalles, he worked as parts manager for Ray Schulten Ford and later was a salesman for Sunset Motors.
In 1985 he moved to Naselle and was a counselor for Serenity By The Sea in Seaside for several years. He then worked as a janitor and bus driver for Naselle schools until retirement. He also owned and operated Starlite Video in Naselle for eight years.
Mr. Mills was an EMT and volunteer for Naselle Fire and Ambulance Service. He was a 25 year member of Alcoholics Anonymous and proud of his years of sobriety. He enjoyed watching Naselle Comets sporting events, fishing, watching area elk and deer and found tranquillity in watching the Columbia River in the morning. He was a talented woodworker who made clocks and lawn ornaments. He took great pride in his family, loved them dearly, and his grandchildren called him "Pappa Ken". He enjoyed his years driving a school bus, being with the kids and watching them grow.
He and Helen Rita were married Feb. 8, 1960. He and Nancy Rowland were married Aug. 12, 1976 and she died in 1997. Surviving are sons Robert Mills of Portland, Ore. and Stephen Mills of Great Falls, Mont.; daughters Leilani Gesch of Seattle, Christina Wirkkala and Shanna Pine both of Naselle and Renee Morrison of Aloha, Ore.; 13 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; brothers and sisters from his adopted family, Myrna Pitchford of Lodi, Calif., Zona Sewell of Hanford, Calif., Jerry Stephens of Fulton, Mo., Michelle Allen and Cheryl Pitts both of Oroville, Calif.
Funeral service will be Saturday, Dec. 21 at 11 a.m. at Naselle Lutheran Church. Graveside service follows at Peaceful Hill Cemetery and a reception will be held at the church. The casket will be open Friday, Dec. 20 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Penttila's Chapel by The Sea, Long Beach. Memorials may be made to either the Naselle Boosters Club or Naselle Fire and Ambulance in care of Penttila's Chapel, P.O. Box 417, Long Beach, WA 98631.