Ray Mills died, in the loving arms of his family, on January 26, 2018, of heart failure. He was born Raymond Marsh Mills on June 20, 1944, in Hagerstown, MD, to Carl and Florence (Williams) Mills. At five months of age, his mother returned to Montana and placed him in the loving care of his grandmother, Ruth Williams of Townsend.
Ray was raised a Catholic and was proud of his service as an altar boy at the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Townsend. Ray attended grade school in Townsend and junior high and high school in Helena, graduating from Helena High in 1962. After graduation he moved to Long Beach, CA, and later to San Diego where he worked in various auto parts stores. He married Beverly Giddings in 1968, they moved back to Helena in 1970, and they divorced in 1976.
In 1978, Ray met Kay Johnson and her daughter Janna, and they embarked on a life together of love, laughter, and family. In 2007 Ray decided to make his fatherhood official and adopted Janna. After 37 years of wonderful times together, Ray and Kay were married on July 25, 2015.
Ray worked in sales his entire life, beginning as a young child raising chickens and selling the eggs to his customers in Townsend. He sold mobile homes when he first returned to Helena, but was primarily a car salesman which he loved. He worked for Burke Volkswagen, for Steve Wong at Planet Motors, at his own car lot called TLC, and for Dave and Erick Anderson at Placer Motors/PMI Used Cars where he retired in 2015. Wherever he worked, customers followed him because he was honest and treated them fairly. Ray also worked in the bar business for several years at Ichabod’s and as manager of The Bullwhacker.
Ray loved playing pool, fast-pitch softball and bowling, and participated in leagues for decades. He was particularly sorry to have to give up bowling in recent years because of health problems.
Ray loved kids and pets, and they loved him back. His latest furry friend was Blackie, the lot cat, who lived at PMI Used Cars until he retired with Ray. We are happy to report that Blackie has found a wonderful new home with people who will treat him as well as Ray did.
Ray is survived by his wife Kay, daughter and son-in-law Janna and Dan Kroll of Helena, granddaughters Kaitlin and Hanna Kroll at U of M in Missoula, brother-in-law Don (Vicky Ewing) Johnson of Portland and Gary (Marilynn) Johnson of Wolf Point, sister-in-law Ruth Orem of Phoenix, nephew James (Michelle) Johnson and their children, Kaylee and Aaron, of Wolf Point, Kay’s sister-in-law Gaynell (Dave) Bruck of Helena, stepson David Giddings of Clancy, aunt Mary Grove and uncle Frank Mills of Hagerstown, MD, and numerous cousins including Tony Williams of Great Falls, Susie Spotorno, Cindy Lieberg and Terri Williams Moreci of Helena, and Bruce Williams of Chandler, AZ. He is also survived by his chosen brother Mike Meredith and many dear friends too numerous to mention. He was preceded in death by his parents and grandmother, and his uncles Ray, Joe, Pat and Dave Williams.
One of Ray's finest qualities was gratitude and, throughout life's ups and downs, he was always grateful for every good thing that came his way. He was loving, giving, and willing to help anyone who asked. Above all, Ray loved his family and his friends and would do anything for us. As a tribute to Ray, please tell your loved ones how much they mean to you and be kind to someone in need.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 10th at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home, 3750 N. Montana Ave. in Helena. A coffee and cookie reception will follow the service in the social hall of the funeral home. Memorials in Ray’s name are suggested to the Lewis & Clark Humane Society, P.O. Box 4455, Helena, MT 59604, or to Big Brothers Big Sisters by visiting http://www.bbbs-helena.org/, or to the Friendship Center of Helena, 1430 N. Sanders St., Helena, MT 59601. Please visit below to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Ray.