Lawrence (Larry) Monroe Mills
Published in the Bonners Ferry Herald February 24, 2005
Another version was published on the website - Kootenai Valley Press - July 31, 2005
On February 18, 2005, Lawrence Monroe Mills snuck away to be with his wife Neva Jean in heaven. We will all miss his cartoon character personality. With his larger than life smile and always happy to see you greeting. Every meeting started with "Well, hello!"
Services were held at the Well Springs Center in Bonners Ferry. Graveside services followed at Grandview Cemetery.
Lawrence was born December 25, 1925 to Gladys and Robert Mills, their own little Christmas baby.
He spent most of his childhood in Newport , Washington, where he graduated high school in the Newport Class of 1944. That same year, he joined the Army, and he served his country in World War II. He saw many things ranging from foreign land to combat. He served until 1947, retiring with the rank of sergeant.
In 1949, he met a beautiful young woman named Neva Jean Bradley from Bonners Ferry. They were wed on June 30, 1950, at the Assembly of God Church in Bonners Ferry.
Larry worked for the Great Northern Railroad. They soon moved to Milan, Washington, where they lived in the depot station. They lived there until May 1951. At this time Larry went back to the gang.
Their first son, Tony, was born while Larry was in Glacier, Montana. Their second child was born in 1953, their first daughter, Rose. They stayed in Bonners Ferry until 1955, when they moved to Montana. They spent the next nine years moving from one town to the next. 1956 also saw the birth of their second son, Billy. Their second daughter, Lorna, was born in 1957.
In 1964 they returned to Bonners Ferry, where he lived until his death.
In 1972, the day before Jean's 39th birthday, they became Grandparents. They had a total of nine grandchildren.
In 1986 Larry retired early from Burlington Northern Railroad. This allowed them to do a little more traveling, although they never got a chance to do many things they had always hoped for.
In 2004, he lost his wife to congestive heart failure, a disease she had been battling for years. This was very hard on him, and in the end he just wanted to be with her. His health declined severely after her birthday.
In 2005 he was sent to extended care facility at Boundary Community Hospital. Four days later, he also passed away from congestive heart failure. In actuality he probably died from a broken heart.
The Railroad was not only his job, it was his life. Sometimes we thought he ran on steam. He collected as many trains as he could get, and all had a history and a story. He could tell you more than the average person needs to know about them. His home was filled with clocks, pictures, and miniatures of trains. This was truly his passion.
He also loved to tell us all his fishing stories. All where true, some just stretched to make them more exciting. Even in his later years he could reel in a fish faster than you. Every fish on was "a good one." If not a good one, they were "little stinkers." No matter which, they all brought that little giggle of joy. If you ever fished with him, you learned something, even if it was just how to stretch the truth!
Next time you catch a stinker let him go and stretch the truth. We will always miss that about him.
He was proceeded in death by his wife, Neva Jean Mills; his parents, and grandson Daniel Mills.
He is survived by his daughters, Rose Marie Peterson, Coeur d'Alene, and Lorna Jean Jarms, Spokane; sons Tony Mills, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Billy Mills, Gardener, Kansas; brother Ernie Mills, Yakima, Washington; grandchildren Robert Winey, Kenneth Winey, Syrina Rose, Adam Mills, James Mills, Angel Mills, Heather Wilson, Melissa Mills and Ryan Mills and great grandchildren Arista, Serenity, Angela, Kelby, Liam, Ethan, Cayman, Tosha, Parker and Elena.
All of the family would like to thank you very much for all your love and support.