Originally Published: January 2, 2010 7:21 p.m.
Orland Clifton Mills passed away Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009, peacefully at the Family Care Hospice Center in Prescott, Ariz. He was well attended to by their caring staff and family members over the last few months.
Orland was born on Sept. 17, 1924, in Prescott to Tennessee (Tennie) and John Mills. He was the youngest of 11 children. He lived in Wagoner, Ariz., where he played in the hills with his sisters and brothers and had many stories to share regarding the horses, mules, rattlesnakes, skunks, and a scoundrel neighbor. At the age of 4 he started first grade at Wagoner in order to keep the schoolhouse open. When he was 12, his father took ill with cancer and passed. With his mother, he moved to Prescott and also spent time in Kingman working on his sister and brother-in-law's ranch. He then returned to Prescott to finish high school in 1943.
After graduation, Orland joined the U.S. Marine Air Corps. His basic training was in San Diego, Calif. He was then stationed at the El Toro Military Base in California. He married Dorothy Aven in Santa Ana, Calif., on May 20, 1944. Eight months later he was sent to Guam with a transport squadron until the end of World War II.
Upon returning home to Prescott, he became a carpenter and helped build several homes in the area, including working on the historic Apache Lodge. In July of 1949 he moved to Potlatch, Idaho, where he did carpentry work, including helping build a home for a friend. The family followed in August.
He re-enlisted in the Marine Reserve as a corporal and was called into service to Camp Pendleton, Calif., during the Korean War. He was released on Nov. 21, 1950, under a special order since he had four dependents.
In 1951 he began working for Potlatch Forest Inc. in maintenance. In 1952 the family moved to the Village of Onaway, where they lived until May 1980.He was responsible for getting the water and sewer system installed in
Orland was an avid hunter and loved being outdoors in the wilderness. He supported freedom of guns for hunting. He was a member of the Silver Spurs Saddle Club and the Deary Gun Club where he was the top shooter. He also taught NRA gun safety. Summers were spent camping in the countryside with the family and trips to visit relatives in Arizona.
He was also a great supporter of sports and started the Little League in Potlatch and was responsible for getting the baseball field established. He coached Little League Baseball for a number of years.
After 29 years at Potlatch Forests he moved back to Prescott with his family in 1980. He built three homes and did remodeling, etc. Orland then worked for Hillside Care Center and Yavapai College in maintenance and fully retired at the age of 70. He spent his time hiking around the state of Arizona and enjoying his dogs, Casey and Buddy. He was blessed with many friends. In his later years he told stories of his childhood and family to all of our delight.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his siblings and in 2005 his eldest son, Clifton W. Mills. He is survived by Dorothy, his wife of 65 years; daughters Barbara C. (Bobbi) Mills of Gresham, Ore., and Merlyn J. Mills of Prescott Valley, Ariz., and son John M. Mills (wife Lisa) of San Diego, Calif. He is also survived by five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Mass will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, at St. Catherine Laboure Catholic Church, 2062 N Hwy.89, Chino Valley, AZ.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Yavapai Humane Society, 1625 Sundog Rd. Prescott, AZ 86301.
Arrangements entrusted to Heritage Memory Mortuary, Prescott.
Information provided by survivors.