She was the widow of Basil Mills, who died on December 13, 1997.
She was born in Barbourville, Kentucky on September 6, 1918 to the late John Tate and Bertha Miles Smith. After the death of her mother in 1924, her father married Jewel Hibbard, who also precedes her in death. They moved to Harlan in 1925. She graduated from Harlan High School in 1936. She worked as a bookkeeper at Jellico Grocery Company. There she met Basil Mills, the love of her life who became a father to Claudette. They were married March 4, 1949.
She is also preceded in death by her brother, Coleman Smith, and sister, Pansey Dell Smith.
She supported Basil in his efforts to obtain his Master’s degree, and he became a teacher and coach in the Harlan County School District. Being an astute business lady, the Mills Insurance Agency was established. They moved to Johnson City in 1992 to be near their daughter.
While in Harlan, they were faithful members of the Harlan Baptist Church. In Johnson City, she was a member of Central Baptist Church and the Margaret McNees SS Class.
She is survived by her daughter, Claudette White Starrett-Sanders; Grandchildren, Stephani Starrett Allen Dempsey, and Susan Starrett Mason Hanes and her husband Steve; Great-grandchildren, Max Mason, Sarah, Joy, John, David, Abbey, Melissa and Ben Allen; nephew, John D. Smith and his wife Linda and family, and Niece, LouAnna Smith Blanton and her husband Roger and family; as well as many beloved members of the Mills Family, whom she loved.
Memorial contributions may be made to Central Baptist Church, 300 North Roan Street, Johnson City, TN 37601.
The family of Thelma Mills will receive friends from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM on Friday, June 8, 2018, at Morris-Baker Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held at 11:30 AM, officiated by Dr. Tommy Hood and Rev. Gene Elliott. A committal service will follow immediately after at Monte Vista Memorial Park.
Memories and condolences may be sent to the family via www.morrisbaker.com.
Morris-Baker Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 2001 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, is serving Thelma Mills’ family. (423) 282-1521