LUTHER MILLS III
Luther Joseph Mills III, 62, of Delaware, OH, passed away unexpectedly at home on June 8, 2014.
He was born at Martins Ferry Hospital on August 4, 1951, and grew up in Shadyside, OH.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Mary (Bonfini) and Luther Joseph Mills Jr.; his paternal grandparents, Virginia (Jordan) and Luther Joseph Mills Sr.; and his maternal grand parents, Giacinta and Pietro Bonfini.
Surviving are his wife of 41 years, Kathy (Biery) Mills; son, Daniel of Washington, D.C.; two daughters, Stacy of Columbus, OH, and Christie of Washington, D.C.; three sisters, Delores Kolakowski, Anita (Chris) Boyd, and Sheila (Bruce) Smith; three sisters- in- law, Diana (Larry) Armbruster, Judy (Tom) Long, and Linda (Mick) Brown; and 16 nieces and nephews.
Luther graduated from Shadyside High School in 1969 and immediately began summer quarter classes at The Ohio State University. He earned a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1973 and a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1974. He also earned a private pilot’s license while at OSU and enjoyed taking family and friends on exciting flying adventures. (“Your job, Kathy, is to look out for other planes.”)
Luther began his career in 1974 as a research and development engineer and Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company in Louisville, Ky. He was issued a patent by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a tobacco drying method and was given $1 for by his employer for the design. After starting his career, he enrolled in graduate school and took many engineering and business courses before deciding on law. By this time, he was also a proud daddy and often studied with his young son on his lap. He graduated from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law and was admitted to the Kentucky bar in 1981.
After leaving B&W, he accepted a position with American Synthetic Rubber Company where he joined a select group of young engineers. He later worked for Olin Industries at the department head of facilities and plant operations. In 1986, he accepted a position as plant manager at the Bradenburg, Ky., plant of Tremco Industries which ultimately brought his family back to Ohio. This move turned the course of his career from engineering to law full time, as he soon declined a position at the Tremco corporate office to begin his law career.
Over the next 25 years, Luther helped many people facing difficult situations. He was a skilled trial attorney and was never at a loss for words. He had a quick wit and sharp tongue, regardless of his audience. His trademark look was a white shirt, khaki pants, and some variation of black tennis shoes. (One young client facing delinquency charges looked him over and said, “You can’t be a lawyer. You have on tennis shoes.”) He put on a tie and sports coat only when necessary and, sometimes, only after being invited to by a sitting judge.
Luther never tired of learning and was an avid reader. At the time of his passing, he was reading three books simultaneously. He passed that love on to his son and two daughters of whom he was endlessly proud. Between them, they earned seven college degrees and followed his lead to work in the fields of engineering or law as a nuclear engineer, bankruptcy attorney and patent examiner.
Luther was generous, humorous, gifted, loyal, quirky, encouraging, adventurous, hardworking, inventive, memorable, adorably cute, and is sadly missed by his loving family and a myriad of friends and colleagues.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 28, at the Schoedinger Worthington Chapel, 6699 N. High St., Worthington, OH, 43085, where the family will receive friends from noon to 2 p.m. the day of the service.
Contributions in Luther’s memory may be made to the American Kidney Fund, 11921 Rockville Pike, Suite 300, Rockville, MD 20852; Charity Newsies, 4300 Indianola Ave., Columbus, OH 43214; or donate a book to your favorite library.