Vernon James Mills

Vernon James Mills, of Kansas City, Mo., formerly of Wood Heights and Excelsior Springs, passed away peacefully Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, in the home of his daughter Vicki Wilson.

Vernon honorably served our country during the Korean War and was granted an earthly life of 84 years, 4 months and 11 days.

It was on July 16, 1933, in Vacaville, Calif. that the Lord blessed William “Willie” and Beatrice Mildred (Stevens) Mills with the gift of a son. He attended school in California and graduated with the class of 1950 from Vacaville High School. Upon graduation, he proudly enlisted in the United States Navy during the beginning of the Korean War. He spent his time mostly aboard the USS Symbol (AM-123) on the Pacific Ocean. The USS Symbol was a minesweeper, and her duty was to clear the waterways of mines, preventing ships from passing. The USS Symbol operated in Korean waters from February to July in 1952, participating in extensive minesweeping and patrol operations on the east coast of Korea, including the sweep of Wonsan Harbor. Vernon was honorably discharged in 1955, proudly serving his country with honor and respect. He enrolled at Drauns Business School in Little Rock, Ark., not knowing that this first year of enrollment that his true journey was soon to begin. It was on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 1957, at the home of Preston and Lorene Gray, in Donaldson, Ark., that Vernon promised with vows, and affectionately kissed his new bride, Shirley (Gray) Mills. This union was richly blessed with four children, Vicki, Larry, Sandra and Jeffry. Vernon and Shirley enjoyed each moment together with grand adventures and many memories made in their 60-year commitment to one another.

Vernon was employed and later retired with TWA as a radio technician. This position with a national airline aided him with an easy commute to travel, but his chosen place to retreat was a little log cabin he had purchased in Roosevelt National Park, Colo., with vacations that took the family camping and being outdoors in the fresh mountain air. Finding pretty and unusual rocks became a hobby, and Colorado was the ideal place to gather many of his compilations. Vernon was also fond of coins and had accumulated a decent collection. He owned a spectrum analyzer and a metal detector, which became a favorite pastime of Vernon’s and sometimes he found a treasure from the beach. He became an avid photographer, taking many great shots of beautiful Colorado and snapshots of the family vacations, and of his children as they grew older with each passing year. Vernon loved to visit the library and would check out books of any category, wanting to know about many projects and finding interest in every possible subject. He was unstoppable at Trivial Pursuit because of this knowledge he gained from always reading. The most cherished asset to Vernon was his family. He loved children and spending time with his grandchildren. The heightened moment for Vernon was taking his family out to eat, and it did not matter if it was individually or all together as long as it was with someone he loved. Vernon was Protestant Baptist, always faithful and loving God.

Vernon is survived by his four children, Vicki A. Wilson, and her husband, Dan, of Kansas City, Mo., Larry V. Mills, and his wife, Carol, of Smithville, Sandra L. Cazzell, and her husband, Mark, of Richmond, and Jeffry J. Mills, and his wife, Stephanie, of Salem, Ark.; two brothers, Chester and Eugene Delmartin, both of California; 10 grandchildren, Faythe Page, Clayton Carlyle, Preston Mills, Brandon Carlyle, Janine Brand, Haley Hooks, Amanda Mills, Jonathan Hooks, Gabriel Mills, and Serenity Mills; six great-grandchildren, Braxton and Bryce Page, Chloe Carlyle, the twins, a girl and boy, Cheyenne and Brody Carlyle and Bella Carlyle.

Vernon was preceded in death by his parents and his adoring wife of 60 years, Shirley Joan on May 5, 2017; and his siblings, Marion Hanson, Walt Mills, Virgie Mills, Viola Creswell and Tom Creswell.

There was a gathering of family and friends from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at the First Christian Church of Kearney. A funeral service followed at 11 a.m. at the church officiated by Pastor Randy Mitchell. Vernon was peacefully laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery, Kearney.

Pallbearers were, Dan Wilson, Mark Cazzell, Clay Carlyle, Brandon Carlyle, Jonathan Hooks, Preston Mills and Matt Page.

Memorial contributions in memory of Vernon, are suggested to the Alzheimer Association or the First Christian Church of Kearney. They may be left at or mailed to, Foster Funeral Chapels, 201 South Main Street, Carrollton, MO, 64633.

Honorably serving the family, arrangements were under the direction of Foster Funeral Chapels. Online condolences may be left to the family at, or our Facebook page: Foster Family Funeral Chapel and Cremation Services, LLC.

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