John “Sonny” Mills

John “Sonny” Thomas Mills passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by Lorraine, the love of his life, and his children and grandchildren on February 19, 2022, in Strongs, MI. He was 89. The world lost a beautiful soul that day, but Heaven gained another angel.

There are not enough words to describe what he meant to all of his family and friends. John lived a long, happy life filled with holiday get-togethers, family road trips and fun times at the casino. He loved to laugh, and loved to tell stories, especially about his logging adventures in his semi, “Miss Lorraine”.

To know John, was to know his quick wit, sense of humor and unforgettable style. He wore his infamous “grandpa shirts”, suspenders or bibs, and trucker hat or Stormy Kromer nearly every day. But it was his smile and laugh that will be most unforgettable of all.

John was an army veteran of the Korean War. He went on to run a logging company, John Mills & Sons Logging. He was an extremely talented woodworker. He built his family beautiful tables, games, banks and more.

Sonny and Rainy met in 1951 and it was love at first sight. The rest is history and a true fairytale. Every year, John and Lorraine would host the family for holidays, especially Christmas, in their home. The family, including kids, grandkids and great grandkids would spend the night on Christmas Eve and open presents in the morning. It was one of the family’s greatest traditions and memories with their Dad and Grandpa.

In short, he was the best. He was an example to all of us on how to be a loving spouse, father, and friend. He taught us how to be the hardest working person in the room and how to always keep on trucking. His grandkids will never forget the summers they spent with him. He let the kids play in his workshop, where they also worked and learned from the master woodworker himself. He would take them for rides in his semi, “Miss Lorraine” and let them use his car phone to call Grandma from the road.

John is survived by his wife of 64 years, Lorraine Maxine Keelean, and his children: Cindy and Hugh Clarke, Karen and Justin Carrick, Greg Mills, Brian and Sherry Mills, Lucy and Ronald Carrick, Kevin and Becky Mills, Melanie and Jack Hambridge, Dennis Parish, 28 grandchildren and 43 (and still counting) great grandchildren and granddogs.

He is also survived by his siblings: Leona Laporte, Donna Pope, Louise Morningstar, Louie Mills and Arthur (Dorothy) Mills. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Kim Aletha Mills Parrish, his grandson, Brandon Mills and granddaughter, Monica Clarke. He was also preceded in death by 7 sisters and 2 brothers.

A Celebration of Life is to be held at the Community Bible Church in Strongs, MI on Wednesday, February 23 at 11:00 a.m. In honor of John and his “Grandpa shirts” guests should feel free to come dressed in their favorite plaid and bib overalls or jeans.

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