SPRUCE HEAD ISLAND — Wilfred L. Mills, Lt. Col. USAF Ret., 93, died Saturday, February 2, 2019, at the Sussman House in Rockport.
Born May 31, 1925, he was brought up on North Haven Island, the son of Merle F. and Emma Peck Mills.
While growing up on North Haven, influenced by Charles Lindbergh who landed on North Haven in 1931, Wilfred developed a passion for airplanes and flying. He attended local schools until his sophomore year when his family moved to Rockland due to the war effort. Wilfred enlisted into the U.S. Army Air Force after his junior year of high school. He graduated from Rockland High School with the class of 1944.
Wilfred served in the U.S. Army Air Force during the latter part of World War II as a flight engineer on B-29 bombers. After the war, he attended the University of Maine and later earned a commercial pilot and instructor’s license. He ultimately purchased a Piper Cub which he flew from North Haven to Orono to attend classes at the University. He gave many people on North Haven their first ride in an airplane.
Wilfred was called back to active duty with the Air Force for the Korean War. He continued a flying career in the Air Force as a flight engineer on B-36 aircraft, and later during the Cold War, he was navigator and weapons delivery officer on B-52s. His last assignment was Deputy Operations Officer with the 45th Air Division at Loring Air Force Base, Limestone, ME.
After retirement in 1970, Wilfred pursued a career as a real estate broker until 1987. For years he enjoyed sailing the coast of Maine from his home on Spruce Head Island. He was a charter member of the Baird-Calderwood-Morrison-Parson, American Legion Post No. 33, North Haven, and a member of the Military Officers Association and Air Force Association.
Wilfred was predeceased by his parents and a sister, Beatrice Gherardi.
He is survived by his four sons, Christopher Mills and his wife Stephanie of Pagosa Springs, CO; Jeffrey Mills and his wife Carol of South Thomaston; Gregory Mills of St. George; Thomas Mills of Lincolnville; three grandchildren, Carey Mills, Connor Mills, Joshua Mills; and two great-grandchildren, Christian and Leevi.
He is also survived by his sister Beatrice’s children Joan Harnois, George Gherardi, Peggy Napolitano, Jerry Gherardi, Debbie Fullington, and their families; and his cousins Freda Smith, Alden Mills, Stillman Joyce, Dale Mills and their families; and godchild Mary Tavernini Dowling.
Friends and relatives are invited to visit from 5 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, February 19, 2019, at Burpee, Carpenter and Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland, where a Prayer Vigil Service will begin at 6 p.m.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 1 p.m., Wednesday, February 20, at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, 150 Broadway, Rockland. The Reverend Robert Vaillancourt will officiate.
A graveside service with Military Honors at Fuller Cemetery, North Haven, will be announced.
The family wishes to thank all of Wilfred’s caregivers who provided him with excellent care over the past two years.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Care Net Pregnancy Center, 462 Old County Road, Rockland, ME 04841.
To share a memory or story with the Mills family, visit their online Book of Memories at www.bchfh.com.