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James Eldon Mills, Jr., CMSGT, USAF, Ret., age 97, of Richmond, Virginia, died on Saturday, December 9, 2017. Jim was preceded in death by his wife Rebecca Parker Mills and wife Josephine Lide Mills of Meridian, Mississippi. He has five children from previous marriages: James M. Mills and wife Cindy, son Shawn and his wife Crystal; Robert S. Mills and wife Claire; Janice A. Mills and daughter Trin; Paige L. Watkins and husband David Chaput, daughter Laura and her husband Nick and sons Jared and Stephen; Nicole Watkins and partner Cheryl and daughter Jordan. Jim is also survived by two great grandchildren, Autumn and Jaclyn. Jim graduated from Meridian High School, Meridian, Mississippi, in 1940. He was employed by the Western Electric Company where he remained until he entered military service on October 27, 1942. He retired from the USAF on May 1, 1975, having completed over 30 years of active duty in the military. He received the Bronze Star Medal, three Air Force Meritorious Service Medals, four Air Force Commendation Medals, two Outstanding Unit Awards and various other awards and decorations through his military career.Prior to retirement, Jim was executive to the Chief of Staff Personnel HQ Tactical Air Command with additional duty as Senior Enlisted Advisor to General Robert J. Dixon, Commander, Tactical Air Command. While on active duty, he also served as Wing Chief of Administration and NCOIC of Intelligence, Headquarters USAF. Jim served overseas tours in North Africa (during WWII), Newfoundland, Alaska, Greenland, the Philippines and two tours in Vietnam. After retiring from the USAF, Jim worked for Nissan Motor Corporation in Portsmouth, Virginia, until retirement in 1985. Jim taught Sunday school classes from 1948 to 2012, supervised an Air Force Chapel, served as Superintendent of Sunday Schools on different occasions, was ordained as a Deacon and assisted several pastors in various capacities, conducted religious services for various churches and conducted bible study groups and lay day services. He is a former member of the First Christian Church in Elizabeth City, North Carolina prior to moving to Richmond, Virginia, to be close to family.
Jim volunteered at the Salvation Army for over twenty years and was the Volunteer of the Year in 2009. He was a 50-year Master Mason and a 32-degree Scottish Rites Mason and was a member of Army-Navy Lodge #306, Hampton, Virginia, and Eureka Lodge #317, Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
The family will receive friends at Blileys Funeral Home, 3801 Augusta Avenue, Richmond, Virginia, on Thursday, December 14, 2017 with visitation at 2pm and service at 3pm. A chapel service will be held at Twiford Funeral Home in Elizabeth City, North Carolina on Saturday, December 16 at 2pm. Interment will be held at West Lawn Cemetery, Elizabeth City, North Carolina at 3pm following the chapel service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Salvation Army.
Published on December 11, 2017
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