OBITUARY: John Thomas Mills Sr.

John Thomas Mills Sr.
SEPTEMBER 13, 1944 – DECEMBER 11, 2023
Obituary of John Thomas Mills Sr.

Weed Corley Fish Funeral Homes and Cremation Services

Our loving Husband, Dad, Grandpa, Brother, Uncle, and dear friend John Thomas Mills passed away peacefully at the age of 79 in Austin, TX on December 11, 2023.

John was born September 13, 1944 in Hobbs, New Mexico. “Johnny” as he was called, lived his early boyhood years here as well as in Texas, Colorado, and California with mother Margie, father Joel, and older sister Barbie. He later resided in Wink, TX with Grandmother Mills so that he could attend and get his education at Texas School for the Deaf in Austin. Soon after, John moved with his mom, dad, and sister to South Austin where he went on to graduate high school from TSD.

It was at TSD where John met his high school sweetheart and love of his life Brenda. They were married for 59 years! From 1963-1967 John attended Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. while working as a journeyman printer for the Washington Post; he was also a member of the International Typographical Union (ITU) from 1967 til the early 1970’s. In 1966 John became a Dad when his son Johnny was born in San Antonio, TX where his wife Brenda’s parents resided.

In order to be close to both families John, wife Brenda, and son Johnny made the move to Austin in the early 1970’s where he worked for the Austin-American Statesman. After transferring his college course credits from Gallaudet, John continued working at the AAS while taking college classes until he received his Bachelors degree in Education from Southwest Texas State University. In the mid-1970’s John began his long and impactful career as an educator at the Texas School for the Deaf. He taught high school students in the vocational department; studies and subjects included desktop publishing, photographic development, and print shop. It was through these very large printing press machines that John and his students produced the school’s newsletters and other publications. Teaching his students and helping them develop their vocational skills to prepare them for the workforce at Texas School for the Deaf was one of John’s pride and passions in life. He had a sharp eye for details and even took up painting as a hobby inspired by his mother’s artistic talents. John was a very hands-on worker, loved history, reading books, magazines, and the Statesman newspaper. John was a proud South Austinite, an avid follower of University of Texas sports and fan of the Dallas Cowboys.

In addition to full-time teaching at TSD, John worked the evening shift as a clerk at the Internal Revenue Service for many years. After finally retiring from the IRS and from teaching at TSD in 2016, John continued to stay busy, working for 5 years as a Bus/Flight Chaperone for elementary students at TSD, escorting a small group of kids to their parents’ homes and back to school, each week all over the state of Texas. He seemed to always enjoy having responsibilities.

John always kept himself busy in various organizations and associations, devoting decades of service and being widely trusted within the deaf community. He held offices for 40 years (mostly as Treasurer) with the Austin Association of the Deaf; Treasurer of Texas Association of the Deaf; served offices of President, Vice President and Treasurer of TSD Alumni Association; and Treasurer of Austin Bass Club of the Deaf. In his leisure time, John was an avid sportsman. He loved deer hunting, large mouth bass fishing, and golfing. He also served the office of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer for the South West Deaf Golfers’ Association. John also loved swimming, archery, and bowling. In his earlier adulthood he and wife Brenda were active in the Deaf Bowling League of Austin, and later became members of the Capitol Rod & Gun Club on Lake Travis where they spent many summers and weekend getaways camping, boating, and fishing with their dear friends and family. More recently in his senior years, John enjoyed hanging out with his Supper Club buddies that included his wife Brenda and dozens of lifelong friends.

John will always be remembered as a trusted steward in the deaf community, and as a hard worker inside and outside of his classroom. He had a kind, gentle spirit and beautiful soul. He was tough, especially in the end, never showing much pain, just love and admiration for what he had. He loved his family and friends so much. He was amazing. You will be missed. We love you forever!

John was preceded in death by his father Joel Mills and mother Marjory Mills of Austin; father-in-law Milton Fogg and mother-in-law (“Grommie”) Frances Fogg of San Antonio; niece Nicole Fogg of Nebraska; and brother-in-law Don Huffman of Marble Falls TX. He is survived by his wife (of 59 years) Brenda Mills; son Johnny and his wife Amy Mills, their son Dahlton, all of Austin; sister Barbara Mills Huffman, nephews Ricky and Joby Huffman, and niece Marcie Huffman Norman, all of Marble Falls. John is also survived by sister-in-law Sheila Jenks(husband Jeff) of San Antonio TX; brothers-in-law: Buell Fogg (wife Kathy) of Nebraska; Tom Fogg(wife Lauree) of Tennessee; and Mike Fogg (wife Vicky) of Minnesota. He is survived by nieces: Justina Heintz (husband Scott, children Drake,Ainslee,Timothy) of TX; Alicia Wolfe(husband Paul, children Trey & Kate) of CA; and nephews: Jud Jenks (daughter Mackenzie) of TX; Scott Fogg (wife Kelly, daughter Amelia) of TN; John Marshall Fogg of TN; Mike Fogg of MN; and Ronny Fogg(wife Lawren) of FL.

The Mills family would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff at the following: Baylor Scott & White Medical Centers in Oak Hill and Buda, Onion Creek Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center, Brush Country Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center, and St. David’s South Austin Medical Center for their excellent care. We would also like to thank Evangelist Pastor Tim Smith, all the hospital-visiting ASL Interpreters for their communication services, Travis County EMS technicians, friends and family for all their support and prayers.

A celebration of John’s life and remembrance service will be held Saturday February 3, 2024, 2024 1-3pm at the Austin Deaf Club, 8818 Cullen Ln. Austin TX 78748

If you would like to help honor John’s legacy, please consider a contribution in his name to one or more of the following organizations: Texas School for the Deaf Foundation, Austin Association of the Deaf (Austin Deaf Club), Greater Austin Foundation for the Deaf, located on these websites:; ; Thank you.


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