Obituary: Maureen Elizabeth Mills

Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend

With profound sadness we share that Maureen Elizabeth Mills, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, died peacefully at home in Sacramento on June 25. She fought courageously until the end after being diagnosed with stage four inoperable lung cancer last December.

She was born September 3, 1941 in Merrick, New York, to Robert and Margaretta McGinness. She attended the Academy of St. Joseph in Brentwood, New York, before studying at Dunbarton College of the Holy Cross in Washington DC, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

After marrying John Michael Mills, she left teaching to become a full-time mother. The couple had seven children and she raised six of them to adulthood. The family lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Ridgewood and Basking Ridge, New Jersey; Mountaintop, Pennsylvania; and Claremont, before moving to Sacramento last year.

In 1986 she began a new career as a hardworking and successful real estate agent in Claremont. For more than 30 years, she sold and found homes for hundreds of families and individuals from across Southern California, serving them with absolute honesty and integrity, her family shared.

Ms. Mills was a devout Irish Catholic, attending mass every Sunday, even finding a church when traveling internationally. For many years, she volunteered as a Eucharistic Minister for Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, administering the sacrament of Holy Communion to the housebound.

As a wife, she moved several times to support her husband’s career, but always had strong input as to where the family would reside. Her relationship with her husband, Mike, would blossom into a beautiful partnership of love and friendship that lasted more than 55 years.

As a mother, she spent years supporting her children’s interests—everything from attending sports games and theater performances to encouraging her kids to travel the world. Most of all, she engendered a strong sense of confidence, decorum and individuality in her children, urging them to find their own life paths and assuring them that success would follow in whatever endeavor they pursued.

She also spoiled her five grandchildren with toys, fun adventures and lots and lots of ice cream. Her favorite time of the summer was the week of Camp Claremont, when her grandchildren would visit for a week of swimming in the pool, trips to Disneyland, movies and other outings.

“Her love also extended beyond immediate family to relatives and friends,” her family shared. “She made sure her door was open to all, always offering food and drink, and making sure you knew you were welcome. She was the consummate hostess.”

Ms. Mills made friends easily and was always ready to support them with phone calls, food, errands, babysitting, or whatever she could offer. She was a founding member of Glen Summit, Pennsylvania’s Marching and Chowder Club, as well as Claremont’s notorious Glee Club, where she made lifelong friends who gathered often to tell stories, brag about their children and laugh. She cherished her sisters and their families and never lost touch with her dearest childhood friends.

Ms. Mills was preceded in death by her son, Robert; parents, Robert and Margaretta McGinness; and sister, Catherine Reilly.

She is survived by her husband, John Michael; sister, Margaretta; children (daughters-in-law), John Michael, Jr. (Jessica), Susan, David, Matthew (Mine), Thomas (Leila) and Meredith; and grandchildren, Henry, Lukas, Owen, Kasper and Lillian.

A memorial service was held July 3 in Sacramento with a lovely funeral mass, burial and reception. Everyone toasted with white wine spritzers (Maureen’s favorite) and lots of laughter. The family plans to host a celebration of Maureen’s life in Claremont in early September.


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