This obituary originally appeared on Memorial Funeral Home.
Timothy J. Mills of Newport, died unexpectedly at home on Thursday, December 10, 2020. He was 58. He was born on September 28, 1962 in New London, CT to Anne (Sullivan) Mills and the late Stuart K Mills, Jr. The family returned to Newport shortly after his birth and he was a lifelong resident of Aquidneck Island from that point on. His sisters however, lovingly never let him forget he was a carpetbagger.
Tim was a proud member of the Rogers High School class of 1981 where he made lifelong friends who he counted as brothers. He graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Geography and Marine Affairs. He was also a proud member of Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) fraternity and his brothers there were lifelong friends.
From the start, a love of the ocean, Narragansett Bay and Newport Harbor was instilled in Tim by his father and grandfather. That love, particularly for Newport Harbor, inspired the career choices that led to him becoming the Newport Harbormaster. He spent his high school and college years as a dock boy on Goat Island, tried his hand at lobstering after college, worked on a NOAA research vessel and was an Assistant Newport Harbormaster. He also owned and operated Island Boat and Mooring Services.
Tim was passionate about his role as Harbormaster and it shined through on how he took to the role. It was his dream job. He will be remembered as an advocate for the City’s most visible resource, improving the harbor facilities, expanding the role and capabilities of his department, building partnerships and alliances with other departments and governmental agencies and being a true professional and mariner.
All of this paled in comparison to his love for his family. His beloved wife Anne, his step children, his parents and sisters. For the last 9 1/2 years, Tim was a loving mentor and parent to his step-children, John and Emily, of whom he was very proud. They loved him and looked to him as a second father and remain grateful for his positive influence in their lives. Tim loved his German Shepherd, Shadow, who was always by his side at home, on errands, or on hikes – a constant reminder of the unconditional love they had for each other. He was also especially proud of his nephews, John, Patrick and Thomas. He always treated them like his own sons, mentoring and teaching throughout his life with countless life lessons, many acquired at FIJI.
Tim’s passions and hobbies went well beyond his love of the sea. He was an avid motorcyclist, and his annual bike trips with his chosen brothers to destinations like the Colorado Rockies and the mid-Atlantic or New England Appalachians, were one of his big highlights each year. In his own motorcycle crew of “Wild Hogs” and in life, Tim was the navigator. Tim loved hiking in the mountains, surfing and paddle-boarding, mountain biking, and cultivating his ever-expanding garden at home. He cherished gathering with friends and family in “the hut” or around his fire pit at night for drinks, stories and laughs. Tim loved to travel, and had looked forward to returning to his favorite destination of the Big Island, HI, among many other places with his wife Anne. Tim put his love of woodworking to use by building an 1800’s farmhouse table for his and Anne’s home. Tim shared a passion for Irish whiskey with his family members, and looked forward to whiskey-club gatherings with his friends. He was a proud Hibernian and played the bagpipes for many years.
Tim’s legacy is his devotion to the family, friends and the City he served. A life well lived just far too short. For those who knew and loved him most, Tim will be remembered for his kindness, generosity, humor, humility, honesty, strong moral compass , and unwavering devotion to family and friends.
Tim is survived by his wife, Anne Shea (Hammer) Mills, his stepchildren John Walsh and Emily Walsh, his mother Anne E. Mills, sisters Kathleen Dunn and her husband John of Newport and Stephanie Mills and Mike Giard of Coventry, his nephews John E. Dunn Jr. of Cypress TX, Patrick T. Dunn of Aurora CO and Thomas S. Dunn of Newport, his great niece and nephew Hailey and John “Jack” Dunn of Cypress TX, his uncles John Mills and Raymond Custy and his many cousins. He leaves behind his many chosen brothers, who will continue to raise a glass in his honor.
He is predeceased by his father, his grandparents, John and Sophia Sullivan, Stuart and Elizabeth Mills, his aunt Joan Custy, aunt and uncle Lawrence and Kathleen Sullivan and his uncle Richard Mills.
We know he was met in heaven by his beloved german shepherd, Shadow.
Memorial donations can be made to the Seamanship and Leadership Training for Youth (S.A.L.T.Y Sailing) Sailing Adventures, the ASPCA or pet rescue of your choice or the Aquidneck Land Trust.
Due to COVID safety protocols, Tim’s funeral services will be private, but you are invited to watch a livestream at www.link.memorial/tmills on Tuesday, December 15, 2020, at 10:00 AM.