Elise (Lee) Ackley Mills, 92, of Lewisburg, PA, died peacefully on Monday, June 4, 2018 surrounded by family.
She was born on November 20, 1925 in Brooklyn, NY, the only child of Charles and Emma (Walter) Ackley. She was predeceased by her husband of 51 years, Robert (Bob) Mills, a noted physicist, who died in 1999.
Lee attended Froebel Academy and Packer Institute, and then graduated from Smith College in 1946 with a BA in Spanish. After working for a while in a New York City advertising firm, she married Bob in 1948 and moved to England for two years, experiencing the aftermath of WWII while Bob attended Cambridge University. After several more moves, they settled in Columbus, OH, where Bob taught at The Ohio State University and where she and Bob raised their family. As Bob’s career progressed, Lee and Bob lived in 11 different cities, residing abroad on 6 separate occasions. Some years after the death of her husband, Lee moved to Lewisburg, where she lived until her death.
Lee’s calm determination, deep personal faith and sense of possibilities led her to involvement, and often to leadership, in addressing many social issues, local causes and family projects. Wherever she lived, Lee sought out, nurtured and sustained friendships with hundreds of people from all walks of life and, quite literally, from all around the world. Many of these friendships were born out of her years of volunteer work with several organizations, some of which she was instrumental in launching and building. She played a key role, beginning in the 1960s, in developing programs for the wives of international students at OSU, and she and Bob, along with several other couples, initiated an international dinner group, bringing foreign students into the homes of local families for formal dinner parties. In 1991, OSU recognized Lee and Bob for their foreign student outreach by presenting them with the International Community Service Award of the OSU Office of International Affairs. She derived enormous pleasure from developing materials for and teaching English as a second language to a multitude of international students over a period of 30 years. Her students continued to maintain contact with her throughout the rest of her life.
Lee is survived by five children, Katherine Anderson (Joseph) of Silver Spring, MD, Edward Mills (Millie) of Pittsburgh, PA, Jonathan Mills (David Drinkwater) of New Brunswick, NJ, Susan Warner-Mills (Marilyn Brill) of Lewisburg, PA and Dorothy Andermills (Karen) of Columbus, OH; grandchildren Katherine Perrin (Christian), Jennifer Mock (Jarrod), Robert Warner and David Mills; and five great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her cousin and life-long best friend, Celeste Stephens and her family, all of Long Island, NY.
A memorial service will be held at the First Baptist Church of Lewisburg, PA at 11:00 am on Saturday, June 16. Burial will be in East Charleston, VT at the discretion of the family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the First Baptist Church of Lewisburg (www.lewisburgbaptist.org), League of Women Voters of the Lewisburg Area Education Fund (lwvlewisburgarea.org) or Orleans-Essex VNA and Hospice, Inc. (orleansessexvna.org).