Arthur Leland Mills Jr.
Nickname:
Birth: Feb 3, 1921 in Tucson, AZ
Death: Jul 12, 1999 in Tucson, AZ
Burial: Jul 16, 1999 in Evergreen Cemetery, Tucson, AZ
Gender: M
Family #1: View Family Sheet Lucy Imogene Smith
Marriage: Oct 15, 1944 in Tucson, AZ
Notes: Arthur Leland Mills, Jr. was born to Arthur Leland Mills, Sr. and Margaret Ruth Davis on
February 3, 1921. He had an older sister, Avonelle, and was later joined by six younger
brothers, Morris, William, Raymond, John, Donald and David, as well as a younger sister,
Catherine.

Art attended school in Tucson, Arizona at Davison Elementary School, Mansfield Jr. High and
graduated from Tucson High in 1940. At the senior dance, Art met Lucie Smith and says he
decided right then and there that he was going to marry that girl.

Art learned early in life the meaning of hard work. During his high school years, Art delivered
newspapers and milked cows both before going to school in the morning and after school each
evening at the Youngs Dairy in Binghampton. But Art also found time to do some fun things
as a young man and took up boxing shortly after graduating from high school. He later was
named a Golden Gloves Champion.

After high school, at age 19, Art went to work for Southern Pacific Railroad in Tucson and
started a four year machinist apprenticeship. After two years there, World War II prompted
Art to enlist in the United States Navy where his chief duties aboard the U.S.S. Red Oak
ammunition ship in the South Pacific were operating the boiler room and working in the ship's
machine shop as Machinist Mate First Class for approximately a year and then for two more
years in the New Hebrides Islands. He loved to tell war stories which mesmerized his
grandkids and which Lucie referred to as "fighting the war". One of his favorite stories from
the Islands was the story of the "snake". Art and a buddy would have the natives take them
into the jungle where they would shoot wild hogs for food for the natives. One day while on a
hunting trip, they came upon the "biggest green snake he had ever seen", about six inches in
diameter and twenty feet long, slithering through the treetops. When the natives spotted the
snake, they were gone in a flash. Art's buddy froze where he stood, leaving Art to unload eight
rounds of buckshot, cutting that snake into about eight pieces. After the snake was dead, they
realized they were in the middle of the jungle and lost. Art and his buddy sat down wondering
what to do. After a short time, he could see "these little black heads poking out of the trees"
and the natives, realizing the snake was dead, led Art and his buddy back to the barracks,
where upon describing the snake to the medic, he learned that had he been bitten by that snake,
he would have had seven seconds to live. He was certainly thankful for his shotgun that day!

In the fall of 1944, Art came home on leave and married Lucie on October 15. He then
returned to the service and was later discharged in September 1945. Thereafter, he returned to
Southern Pacific Railroad to complete his remaining two years apprenticeship and then
continued to work six years as a general machinist until he was laid off due to closure of the
shops in 1953. After Art returned home from the service, Lucie and he began their family.
Their first child, Ronnie, was born in June 1949, but only lived until 20 months of age. They
were later blessed with two more sons, Kenny in 1952 and Mike in 1954.

Art later worked at Arizona Public Services and Magma Copper Mine at San Manuel. A move
to Las Vegas to work for Nevada Power and Light found the family purchasing a boat called
"Mama's Wages". Art, Lucie and the boys enjoyed many a weekend on Lake Mead, where
they fished, skied and snorkeled and were often joined by other family members. Art brought
his family to Willcox in 1964, going to work for Arizona Electric Power, where he later
contracted Valley Fever and was disabled. It was in Willcox, that Art built his fourth and later
his fifth and final home. He was a man of many skills and trades, and always loved to be
working on something, whether it was welding, machine work, or rebuilding old cars.

Art enjoyed all kinds of outdoor sports, including deer, javelina and elk hunting, and always
managed to work in lots of family camping trips, where he taught his sons the love of hunting.
Art and Lucie were baptized and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in
1970, and have been active members ever since.

In 1986, Art underwent open heart surgery for a double bypass. This was but one of the
numerous surgeries Art was to undergo over the next 13 years. In late 1998, he was diagnosed
with lung cancer and fought a long, hard battle before succumbing to that dreaded disease.
Art was a devoted husband, having been married 54 years, as well as a wonderful father to his
sons, Kenny and Mike. He was delighted with the birth of each of his three grandchildren,
Jason, Brian and Marci and never ceased to be the Grandpa who played with and taught them
many important lessons. It was often said that Art made it through many hard times just to be
with those grandkids. He blessed the lives of many and we will miss him very much!

From a letter written by Lucie Smith Mills to me: "Art died July 12, 1999, at the age of 78 of
Mesothelioma, lung cancer caused by working closely with asbestos during his lifetime."