Patricia “Pat” Mills died peacefully in her home of 60 years on January 17, 2024, following a week of visits from all her children, several of her grandchildren, a beloved niece and nephew, and neighbors who were like family to her.
Pat was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Culver City, where her mother, uncle, and aunt all had jobs at Hal Roach and MGM Studios during Hollywood’s golden years. After her father left the family, young Patty and her younger brother Mike bonded closely to grow up together while their mother worked to support them. When their mother remarried several years later, their stepfather’s job in the Navy took them to the small island of Pohnpei in the western Pacific, where Pat met a young sailor named Wil and they immediately became a couple. Upon returning to the United States in 1951, the two of them convinced Pat’s grandmother to drive to Las Vegas with them to witness their elopement. The family grew quickly, as the couple had five children in their first dozen years of marriage.
Wil’s tour in the Navy took them from San Diego to Hawaii to New Orleans and finally back to San Diego, where they settled upon Wil’s retirement from the service. Pat was often left alone to raise her five children when Wil was out to sea as the war in Vietnam ramped up, but her strength and determination kept them all happy and healthy. Once Wil was settled into civilian life and the kids began getting older, Pat directed some of her boundless energy toward the local school’s PTA, where she served as president for a time, and the nearby Little League, where she was president of what was then called the “Wives’ Auxiliary”. In these roles, her organizational skills came to the forefront, and she proved herself to be a creative and effective teambuilder.
Eventually, Pat entered the workforce, taking temporary jobs around town that included monthly stuffing of bills into envelopes for San Diego Gas & Electric. The folks there were so impressed with her energy and work ethic that they hired her to work in the call center, where she eventually became the supervisor of that end of the company’s customer service department. Her coworkers appreciated her guidance and advice, and loved her for fully celebrating their birthdays and other life events with them. She cherished her time at SDG&E and continued to get together with former coworkers for the rest of her life.
Pat adored her grandchildren and delighted in having them visit or traveling to visit them. Grandma Mills would make special clothes for the kids, create projects for them to work on, conduct Easter basket hunts that involved clues or giant bunny feet to follow, bake homemade gingerbread houses for the kids to decorate at Christmas, and so many more things. Following retirement, Pat enjoyed the company of her great-grandchildren, and also directed some of her energy toward her church, where she taught Sunday school and participated in Bible study groups. She and Wil enjoyed traveling during this time, especially to New York to visit their daughter and her family, and they often went for walks around town, with Sunset Cliffs being a particular favorite. After Wil’s passing in 2019, Pat’s favorite activity became meeting friends and family for lunch to stay connected with her all her old pals. The last year was a bit of struggle for her physically, but she fought through and enjoyed every bit of life that she could. She will be missed by many.
Survivors include her five children, Ken (Linn), David (Mary), Jerry (Julie), Jim, and Kathy Mills-Hastings (John); along with her grandchildren Melinda, Emily, Adam, Katherine, Sarah, Michael, Randy, Bree, Brittany, Korina, Max, and Cole, and eighteen great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Wil, her mother Geraldine and stepfather Ed Hendrickson, and her brother Mike, whom she adored. Services are pending as the family takes time to reflect before moving forward. Lastly, the family expresses deep appreciation to the Hospice nurses and in-home healthcare givers that gave Mom so much heartfelt and loving care during her last few weeks. We will be forever grateful. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Feeding San Diego, as this was Pat’s charity of choice in recent years.