Thomas William Henry Mills of Delaware, Ohio and formerly of Santa Maria, California, passed away surrounded by his family on January 12, 2021.
Tom was born on December 25, 1941. He is preceded in death by his father Thomas Mills and his mother, Lois (Gaddis) Mills and his loving wife Linda (McCabe) Mills.
Tom grew up in Guadalupe, California. He graduated from Santa Maria High School in 1959. Tom attended Allen Hancock and Westmont College where he earned a BA in Social Science. Tom was drafted in 1966 to the Vietnam War where he proudly served in the US Army. Upon his return, he moved to Santa Barbara where he met Linda McCabe. Tom and Linda were married in Montecito, California on June 26, 1971.
Tom later went on to complete his Ph.D. and taught all levels of education from elementary to the collegiate level. He was a longtime teacher with Lompoc Unified School District where he taught for over 30 years.
Tom loved teaching and his love for teaching went beyond the classroom where he taught English to foreign exchange students through Cultural Homestay Institute. Tom was selected and received the very prestigious honor to teach abroad in England for one year through the Fulbright Teacher Exchange program where he taught at John Kelly Boys School in London.
Tom was a longtime member of Grace Baptist Church in Santa Maria, California. He enjoyed singing in the choir, and participating in the annual Living Christmas Tree program. Moving to Delaware, Ohio in 2016, he became a member of Delaware Bible Church.
Since 1972, he has faithfully served with Gideons International, passing out New Testament Bibles around the California Central Coast and more recently, the Delaware County Fair, and Ohio Wesleyan University campus.
In 2019, Tom had the unforgettable experience of travelling to Washington DC with Honor Flight.
Tom loved traveling and seeing the world. Some of his favorite trips were to Hawaii, Australia, and Europe. He took his children on many great adventures, a legacy that they have carried on with their own families. Tom had a deep love of learning and always sought out new experiences and novel opportunities for learning that he instilled in his family.
Left to cherish his memory are his two brothers; Bill (Sandi) Mills; and Allen Mills; his three children; son, Tommy Mills; his daughters, Kym (Kurt) Kaelber and Andrea (Paul) Giorgi; and was known as Papa to his grandchildren, Kylee, Kaden, and Kason Kaelber and Ella, Micah, Rilynn, and Henry Giorgi.
Tom was witty, kind, loving, patient, and extremely humble and to know him, was to love him. He enjoyed reading, classical music, chess, and board games - always looking for an opponent to play Strat-O-Matic baseball with. He enjoyed watching the Dodgers and his knowledge of all things, baseball was remarkable. Spending time with his grandkids was his favorite hobby, especially trips to Disneyland. Tom considered the greatest gifts the Lord gave to him were his wife, his three children, and his seven grandchildren. Tom's greatest legacy is, and will be, his faith in Jesus Christ where he lived a life that truly glorified Him until the moment he passed.
The Mills family would like to express their gratitude and thanks to the Grady Memorial Hospital and Ohio Health Hospice staff.
Private family graveside services will be held at the Waldo Cemetery with military honors conducted by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1095 of Delaware.
The Snyder-Rodman Funeral Center of Delaware is honored to serve this veteran and his family.
To share a fond memory of Tom or to offer a condolence to his family, please visit www.snyderfuneralhomes.com