ForeverMissed
Sadly Dad passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his family on February 17th 2021, having lived the last 74 years to the fullest. 

This site has been started by his family to celebrate his life and share stories of the great, the good, the weird and the wonderful that was John, husband, brother, father, grandfather and friend. 

Since dad passed away we have heard many lovely stories from those who knew and worked with him. Although we can't share these directly, we encourage you to share this site with others and please add pictures and stories that will help keep his memory alive, and celebrate the force of nature that was our Dad.

Dad's funeral was held on Monday 22nd March and consisted of a private service at his home followed by a service at York Crematorium.

Sadly current restrictions prevented us from allowing all the people we would like to attend, but a copy of the order of service is within the Stories section and music from the farm published to the Gallery (songs) section.

If you would like to make a donation it was Dad's wish that either of the following two charities should benefit:

Posted by John Mills on March 26, 2021
I first met John in 1958. We were both scouts, and he was an Usher at our wedding in 1971. He was quirky, inquisitive, and a really good friend.
We remember parties at Quarry Cottage, and adventures that I really can’t speak about, but which mostly involved earth and mud!
I recall one occasion when Isobel and John were renovating Capenor Cottage in Portishead. It was their first property project. The building was apparently mentioned in the Doomesday Book, not for John a Wimpey starter.
I was relaxing at home, when the phone rang. It was a very worried John who said he had a problem, and could I help. He was renovating an adjacent barn and 10 tons of pre-mixed concrete, intended for the barn floor, had arrived earlier than expected, and could I come to help now.
When I arrived, a small team of helpers had assembled around the concrete mound, which had to be shifted pretty dam quick. But it was OK, because he had one wheelbarrow, and several buckets to navigate the 30 metre journey!! Not surprisingly for John, the job got done, and it looked great.
It was a privilege to have known you John. The world is missing one of its originals.
With love to Margaret, and all of your family and friends.

Erica and John Mills

Posted by Gary Bebbington on March 24, 2021

Rare do you meet people with such a kind heart and a warmth that is difficult to describe. Such a jolly outlook and always had time for curious questions. As I said, or tried to say it was with a heavy heart and nothing but fond memories evoked on hearing of John's passing. I do hope you can draw comfort from having had wonderful times and years together knowing the respect and friendship you both came to adorn on your outings together, whether it be work or pleasure. I know that every life he came into contact with will be richer for it.
He will be sadly missed but in my memories it will always be his Peter Pan smile and humour regardless of the challenge that will make me smile for him. Only the good go early x.
Gary Bebbington
Posted by Charlotte Elizabeth on March 23, 2021

We feel incredibly lucky to have known John these last few years. He has been such an inspiration to us both with his zest for life and endless optimism and enthusiasm. Every time spent with John and Mags has been a joy - we’ve had such wonderful occasions enjoying food, drink and fantastic company: we loved hearing stories of his travels around the world and his various projects! His whole ethos of life made John such a special character. His passion for practically anything (except Strictly!) and his wonderful generosity made him an incredible man who was willing to help and offer advice whenever he could - even from the minute I met John, he offered up his workshop for me to use even though I barely knew him!!
John’s positive outlook on life and enthusiasm to tackle projects has definitely rubbed off on us - in fact there’s been many a time whilst doing our own mini projects at some head-scratching moment when we would sit back and think ‘what would John do?’
It really was a privilege to know John and call him a friend - he will be so so missed but our memories will forever live on xxxxxxx
Giles and Charlotte xxx
Posted by Julie Thirlwell on March 23, 2021
Both. Julie and I have known John for many years through the mushroom industry and became good friends. I’ve personally worked along side him on many of his projects and believe me there’s been a few from fishing ponds, to extensions , to building his garage. John as been an inspiration with his unique work ethic and positivity. A great guy who will sadly be missed.  Steve Thirlwell
Posted by Geoff Martin on March 23, 2021
I first met John in the 1980s when we worked together at Middlebrook Mushrooms in Selby. It was the start of a great friendship, which has lasted almost forty years. I last caught up with John and Margaret in Sydney at our Australian Mushroom Conference in 2018, when I managed to twist his arm into giving a couple of excellent presentations. Always good to catch up with him. He was a great Mate and will be sadly missed.
Posted by Andrew Middlebrook on March 22, 2021
So sorry to hear of John's passing. Many happy memories of working with John (and Margaret). As well as his great wealth of knowledge and expertise in all things mushroom, we'll remember John for his constant positivity and endless optimism, his great sense of fun (or mischievousness!) and just sheer generosity of spirit. Thinking very much of Margaret and all of John's family at such a sad time. Best wishes, Andrew & Julie Middlebrook
Posted by Lucie Gill on March 22, 2021
We'll count ourselves forever lucky to have had John - and to still have Margaret, of course - as our neighbours. An incredibly warm, happy and helpful person, we'll hugely miss seeing his smiling face and cheery wave over the hedges while he set about (yet :) another project with his customary enthusiasm. How wonderful to have had a life surrounded by such loving family and friends and with work that he enjoyed so much. With much love to all, Lucie, Hayden, Sophie, Hannah & James xxx
Posted by Philip Musson on March 22, 2021
So sorry to hear of John’s passing, my condolences to Margaret and all of John’s family. I knew John for about 30 years, he was a gent to deal with, always had a smile on his face and was a genuine man generous to a fault. He was always busy and didn’t seem to let anyone stop him from succeeding in his projects. One of life’s good people, it’s a shame there aren’t more like him.
Posted by Lesley Line on March 22, 2021
We have only known John for a few years. But it is impossible to say what a lovely man he was. Always friendly, ready to give a helping hand. Always on the go with some project or other. 
His enthusiasm for living life to the full was exemplary. It was fun being around him.

Chriss and I will certainly miss John.

Our thoughts and love to Maggie and his family xx

Posted by Tim Livesey on March 22, 2021
John was just a great man and a true Gent and we are all deeply saddened to hear of his passing. He always arrived here with a smile, worked with a smile and left with a smile. He even cussed his stutter with a smile!!
He had this rare talent of bridging the void between theory and practice and he was never afraid to admit his suggested remedy might not work!!
Thank you John for all that you have done for us here and for your optimistic and up beat approach to solving what at times seemed impossible to us.
Our thoughts are very much with his family and close friends.
Posted by Mr. B on March 22, 2021
Johns' passion for life and his projects helped me realize that great things were possible and that setbacks were just hurdles to overcome. It was great working with him. I am saddened at his passing but it is lovely to see him live on through his friends, children and grandchildren.
Posted by Jim Farrar on March 21, 2021
John has been a dear and loyal friend for over 25 years. A man of many talents and interests. He exuded a joie de vivre and a love of music, wine, food and, most of all, company. An eternal optimist who faced any challenges with
equanimity. If you had a problem he never failed to help. There was always on ongoing project and 'work in progress' which he attacked with a rare passion
and enjoyment. Our memories of John will endure.
Jim and April Farrar
Posted by Lindsey Chapman on March 21, 2021
I am really honoured to have called John a friend. I first met John around 2007, not sure how but he made me laugh and I soon got to know John and Mags when we spent many laughing moments in his garden at many barbecues and parties, and since then we developed a friendship, the times l’d call around to discuss my travels, especially the ones to Asia, he had been to them.. one think l do remember dearly is the outing closer to home, our time at York Races.
John you will be so sadly missed but always in my memories. My thoughts are with Mags and all of John’s lovely family. xx
Posted by Janet Tong on March 21, 2021
John is very much part of my memories of the end time of childhood holidays - we always visited Great Auntie Gladys and Uncle Jack Whiskers in the house up the very steep steps (well they seemed that way when I was 5). Those memories were rekindled when the family got together a few years ago at Peter's for a delicious hog roast. I was so glad I got to meet the family - some I remembered from earlier times, others were new to me - and you again. As a child you (and sister Margaret) seemed so grown up, but always had time for us, lots of fun and games in the garden in Portishead. Happy memories. My thoughts are with your family at this sad time.
Posted by Michael Fieldsend on March 21, 2021
John-My memories of times gone by from when you were a youngster and Auntie Gladys would 'come home' to Sheffield during school holidays to my weekend leaves from RAF St. Athan-our holidays when staying at Quarry Cottage the 5 star hotel with the very best owners & 'staff' as well!!-the 'sands' at Burnham-on-sea-caravanning with the pig in the orchard-trying to ring the church bells on practice night, not very good!!-a boat trip with you in Uncle Jack's yacht to Clifton Suspension Bridge & having to abort at Pill on return as the weather turned-halfway house visits when en-route to Cornish Holidays-your wedding celebrations, where I met amongst others Dave Mitchell-sharing a pie & pint on your visits to Sheffield Uni-hearing about your most interesting international work trips and more recently at your Birthday Hog Roasts enjoying yours & Mags wonderful hospitality, meeting your Family & Friends and trying to keep up with the constant improvements you made at The Granary, not forgetting the Water Wheel project-so glad you've got it up and running-look out Power Gen!!
Many many Happy Memories to cherish...............quite a journey and one you can be justly proud of! I feel privileged to have shared some of it with you.....God Bless  Mick alias St. Michael
Posted by Eva Jablonská on March 21, 2021
In summer 2006, I had a chance to spend one pleasant month with John and Margaret in South Milford. The goal was to improve my English and in return for their hospitality, I was trying to help them in the house and in the garden. I remember feeding carps every evening with leftover sandwiches and nice time spent together during opulent homemade dinners. I had a pleasure to meet Isabel, Ian, Oliver and during a garden party also Matthew, Katherine and Johanna. I was so sorry to hear about the sad news. My thoughts are with John's family.
Posted by Martin Lakin on March 21, 2021
We feel really honoured to have called John a friend. We first met John eight years ago when he called to ask about the stone we were demolishing from our own project. We soon got to know John and Mags when we spent many hours loading stone onto John’s trailer. We couldn’t believe what John created with the stone from Millbrook, he was indeed a true craftsman. Since then we developed a valued friendship with such a special couple. John’s enthusiasm and support for everything we were all try to achieve was an inspiration to us. He will be so sadly missed. Our thoughts are with Mags and all of John’s lovely family. Martin and Julie
Posted by Roz Satariano on March 21, 2021
I have known John for only a short time in his amazing life but grateful to be included in that. He was a wonderful,enthusiastic and caring man. I loved the hog roast events with family and friends .My forever memory was to go to the F1 race in Belgium with John and Mags and my brother....what an amazing weekend that was! You will be missed John xx
Posted by Oskar Suarez on March 20, 2021
Mi amigo Jhon! I am glad that I had the opportunity to meet you and work with you. I will never forget how hard you worked (you never stopped definitely!), your sens of humor and the inspiring stories of your life while we were working in "La Gloria" project in Colombia. I and my wife are very sad that you are gone, however, I will always consider you my best old friend (siempre te consideraré mi mejor viejo amigo)!
Oskar.
Posted by Paula Taylor on March 20, 2021
John the Tasmanian Devil - never have I met a man who literally just did not stop - such a beautiful man who was half of a beautiful couple. To describe him to anyone was impossible however my daughter Ellie got to meet him on his final journey - and just understood - the only Jobby he knew!!
Posted by Tim Platts on March 20, 2021
Lovely to see all these messages from those close to John, and for me it was honour and privilege to have shared only a small slither of time with one of the most positive and charming people you could meet. My memory of John and Margaret jumping up and down at Spa f1 with excitement will be forever with me
Posted by David Charles Lindley Fie... on March 19, 2021
John, remembering you and the happy times spent at the B B Q's and pig roasts with all your family at "The Granary" and elsewhere.
Take care of each other.
Much love to you all.
Sue & Dave.
Posted by Paul Hardy on March 18, 2021
To echo Don's opening, Mum would frequently tell me about "never working a day in your life, like your Uncle John!" this as well as John telling a blue/swampy green-haired brooding teenager some facts of life which I will always be grateful for as it taught me so much!

So many memories, from a caravan arriving at Quarry Cottage while were staying and holidays playing with the cousins to late nights, hog roasts and early experiences with alcohol and getting hammered on K cider for the first time XD or the midnight trip around the mushroom farm. There is simply too much to fit in a small note

I remember - Waterslides (home made and Doncaster Dunk/Selby swimming pools), Abbeys, cathedrals and viking museums, *not* remembering falling out of a bunk bed in the caravan while the house was being built, someone trying to shoot both barrels of a shotgun at a clay pigeon at the same time and wearing a support bandage. So, so many crazy and exciting stories involving JCBs and broken mobile phones and more recent times the shenanigans wheel!

A true inspiration to any young, aspiring engineer and a soul that will be deeply missed!

Hugs and all my love to everyone! xxx
Posted by Donald Hill on March 18, 2021
By his own admission, John never did a day’s work in his life. He would say “… but Don, you can’t call it work when you enjoy it so much!” He totally enjoyed the whole process of living and of being alive. Even when we were small children he insisted on perfect outcomes as being the basis of involvement, and would expect nothing less, either from himself or from others.

We met in February 1955, on my first Saturday in Portishead: I was ten and John was 8 and we lived “across the cabbage patch” from each other. After an afternoon’s playing, we ended up being the firm friends would remain for ever. 

John was like a human magnet; he attracted people to him and somehow, without any seeming effort on his part, made them feel special and very much his friends. His unassuming likeableness will mean he is being sorely missed by a huge number of people who have been privileged to be confident in calling him their friend.

Don Hill
Posted by Derek George on March 17, 2021
Julie and I have known John as a close personal friend of the highest order for the last 13 years. We have spent many hours discussing the broadest range of subjects, sometimes agreeing, sometimes not, but always with humour and a pint, bottle of wine or more often, Prosecco! 
Building was a shared passion, enjoyable hours spent discussion future plans for conservatories, swimming pools, fishing lodges, solutions to current problems, always positive and fun, no matter what.
Sharing countless meals, in and out, all year round, barbecues, birthdays and inevitably, New Years Eve's, perfect company at all times.
A week's shared holiday with John and Mags in a thatched cottage in Derbyshire was a particular highlight. From the history of dry stone walling to fossil hunting, antique shopping and Cathedral visits, all mixed in with laughter, good food and wine.
John would always bring positivity and often unexpected viewpoints to everything, whether investigating the village flooding problems, planning and building the waterwheel virtually single handed or discussing religion, politics and more lately, Covid19, a broad overview and detailed analysis would follow.
Being asked to be John's best man was an absolute honour and the wonderfully happy day was captured on film by Julie.
Composting though, was a continuous theme with many hours poring over designs, site performance data and spreadsheets, life was never dull with John!
He was unique, a real gem of a man, making the most of every day and taking people with him on the ride. He will leave a hole in many lives, but our thoughts and support are with Mags and John's family, who were always, always the closest to John's heart.
Posted by John Hall on March 17, 2021
John stands out in my mind as a gentle, inquisitive, mildly eccentric man - full of new ideas, enthusiasm and with a real zest for life. We can all take a lot of comfort from the fact that he crammed more into his 74 years than most of us would manage in 100 years.
It has been a privilege to know John professionally and personally for some 35 years and he will be remembered with great fondness.
Posted by BRYAN DYER on March 16, 2021
I've worked alongside John for 30 years, off and on. Most recently he gave great assistance to Stephen Nelson and myself on a key sustainability project in Sumatra, Indonesia. Over those 30 years he was always the same: relentless in his search for the right answer; respectful and cheerful with all with whom he came into contact; caring; trustworthy. His "mad professor" traits were always negated by a smile or by laughter. He will be sorely missed by all his friends in Verdant Bioscience in Indonesia.
Posted by Moira Hoaksey on March 16, 2021
I have known John for 35 years as a boss, work colleague and friend. Such a lovely man with a wonderful sense of humor. He will be sadly missed by a lot of people and my thoughts are with Margaret and his family.
Moira
Posted by Jane Lewis on March 15, 2021
John's family and friends have been entwined with my family and friends for over six decades; we share so many wonderful and crazy memories of times spent with this lovely man – as far away as Australia and back to North Wales ,France, Yorkshire… and of course Portishead.
Our love to all of his family and friends who like us,are deeply saddened by his parting;
Jane ,Julien and Lorna Lewis and Peter Lumbis

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by John Mills on March 26, 2021
I first met John in 1958. We were both scouts, and he was an Usher at our wedding in 1971. He was quirky, inquisitive, and a really good friend.
We remember parties at Quarry Cottage, and adventures that I really can’t speak about, but which mostly involved earth and mud!
I recall one occasion when Isobel and John were renovating Capenor Cottage in Portishead. It was their first property project. The building was apparently mentioned in the Doomesday Book, not for John a Wimpey starter.
I was relaxing at home, when the phone rang. It was a very worried John who said he had a problem, and could I help. He was renovating an adjacent barn and 10 tons of pre-mixed concrete, intended for the barn floor, had arrived earlier than expected, and could I come to help now.
When I arrived, a small team of helpers had assembled around the concrete mound, which had to be shifted pretty dam quick. But it was OK, because he had one wheelbarrow, and several buckets to navigate the 30 metre journey!! Not surprisingly for John, the job got done, and it looked great.
It was a privilege to have known you John. The world is missing one of its originals.
With love to Margaret, and all of your family and friends.

Erica and John Mills

Posted by Gary Bebbington on March 24, 2021

Rare do you meet people with such a kind heart and a warmth that is difficult to describe. Such a jolly outlook and always had time for curious questions. As I said, or tried to say it was with a heavy heart and nothing but fond memories evoked on hearing of John's passing. I do hope you can draw comfort from having had wonderful times and years together knowing the respect and friendship you both came to adorn on your outings together, whether it be work or pleasure. I know that every life he came into contact with will be richer for it.
He will be sadly missed but in my memories it will always be his Peter Pan smile and humour regardless of the challenge that will make me smile for him. Only the good go early x.
Gary Bebbington
Posted by Charlotte Elizabeth on March 23, 2021

We feel incredibly lucky to have known John these last few years. He has been such an inspiration to us both with his zest for life and endless optimism and enthusiasm. Every time spent with John and Mags has been a joy - we’ve had such wonderful occasions enjoying food, drink and fantastic company: we loved hearing stories of his travels around the world and his various projects! His whole ethos of life made John such a special character. His passion for practically anything (except Strictly!) and his wonderful generosity made him an incredible man who was willing to help and offer advice whenever he could - even from the minute I met John, he offered up his workshop for me to use even though I barely knew him!!
John’s positive outlook on life and enthusiasm to tackle projects has definitely rubbed off on us - in fact there’s been many a time whilst doing our own mini projects at some head-scratching moment when we would sit back and think ‘what would John do?’
It really was a privilege to know John and call him a friend - he will be so so missed but our memories will forever live on xxxxxxx
Giles and Charlotte xxx
Recent stories

Chateau Granary?

Shared by Jim Farrar on March 23, 2021
With their keen appreciation of wines, it was inevitable that John and Margaret, on their world tour, would take in The Cloudy Bay vineyard in New Zealand. Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc was one of John's favourite wines.
We frequently chatted about wine after the many delicious dinners prepared by Margaret.
John subsequently instigated a few wine tasting nights, thoroughly enjoyed by all.  He recounted the time he confused Pouilly-Fume for Pouilly-Fuisse, later realising the great   differences between the two.
John fully understood grape varieties, terroir, hill orientation etc. and speculated as to whether the slope at The Granary would support crossings or hybrid vines. I'm sure that John with  his sheer  drive and vast knowledge of plant pathology could have brought this idea to fruition. It was probably one of the many projects to remain in his head......
Jim and April    

Memories of Uncle John

Shared by John Hardy on March 20, 2021
There's so much to say about your Dad for so many reasons. I can't really remember the first time I met him, but I just remember him always being there, and being the Uncle with the scratchiest beard and the biggest cuddles. They were so tight I'd feel like my head was going to pop off, but they were so full of love. A Burden cuddle I think they call them.

When I was little and we would go and stay at Granny's it was so exciting seeing you all when you'd come back from a skiing trip or just passing through and we would have a couple of nights together. I remember us going apple picking once and how massive the orchard was, but also the disappointment that they were cooking apples so we couldn't eat any of them right away. All those pub trips to The White Hart and the little stops at Aunty Daisy's I'll treasure so fondly. It was always so rare to have us all together though! Wherever we were, we'd always go swimming. Clevedon, Doncaster Dome, Tadcaster Baths, Selby, Barnsley was another and I'm sure there were a couple more.

I remember every summer coming up to sunny South Milford for a week and seeing how the house was coming along (or not). It was always so much fun staying in the caravan. So much so I definitely remember wishing the house would take even longer, so we could keep staying there. We'd always do something exciting like going to Eureka, but it was always so exciting just being at the farm, exploring and playing. Watching your Dad drive around in a digger, dump truck or even lawnmower always made me smile, because he always looked like he was having so much fun. He loved life with such a passion, it was contagious.

Everytime he would drop us off at the station, I'd be so sad about going home and it would take Mum a few days of telling me we could go back again and see everyone again soon.

I was always super excited when he'd come to stay with us in London from whichever trip he'd been on, or whatever embassy he had to visit. He'd always bring us mushrooms. Whichever crazy variety he'd been playing with. I remember having shitakes for the first time and being blown away he could grow them.

There was one time he came and took us to Canterbury. Mum always said it was an inset day, but I'm sure she took us out of school. Mum lit a candle in the Cathedral and I had my very first toasted tea cake! Something that proved almost impossible to find in London for a long while afterwards.

Another time he took us all to the poshest Chinese place in Walthamstow (Princess Diana had been there!) I remember sitting round the big spinning marble wheel and all these amazing foods coming out and turning it to get some, although Dad would admonish me for turning it too quick and the usual dinner etiquette talk. It was the first time I had seaweed though! He introduced me to so many different foods and ingredients. It definitely helped peak my culinary interests.

When he gave us his raclette it felt like Xmas every weekend. It was the best present ever! We would have friends over throughout our school years for parties, and when it broke we bought a new one to share with our friends when Paul and I became adults. I even managed host a breakfast lunch and dinner with one!

Uncle John was always so interested in what I was doing. Throughout my life he's always been there. I was always so surprised at the lengths he'd go through to help me out in some way. Mum always said "That's what uncles were there for." But it was that sense of family and love he was able to give. That's what to me made him so incredibly special.

Throughout university he was there for me whether it was giving me some weekend work or taking me out for some posh food. He taught me so much and was always willing to listen to my problems and was just generally interested in me as a person.

After my accident I woke up and he was there with you all. Such a friendly face that was was somehow always there when things felt their darkest.

When I got a job abroad, he was there to clean up my flat. Him and Olly moved and stored all my stuff. Even when it was time to clear it all out (10 years later out!), he made every care to make sure my photos were as best preserved as possible. His passion for capturing moments really inspired me, as did his love of hoarding.

In more recent years, I was able to spend more time in York and I was always so proud he'd come and see me play. He wasn't a massive fan of my music, but he was always so enthusiastic about it. After one gig he said he was going to give me a review. He could be judgemental, but he was always so curious. One night we nearly went to a drum and bass rave at 2am! I wish it was a better night or we defintely would have gone. Just to see him dance!

Whenever he was passing through London he'd always visit Mum and she was always so chuffed to see him. She'd always come back glowing. She was always so proud and felt so pampered when he'd treat her to a posh breakfast. When she got ill his little trips to the hospital brightened everyone's day. Talking to him always seemed to make things a bit better.

I'll miss him so much. He was an inspiration and a legend. He was so much to so many people and the world will be a much darker place without him. I know he wasn't religious, but I hope he has sipping a G&T with Mum somewhere. They maybe gone but they'll never be forgotten xxx



Shared by andrew robinson on March 20, 2021
I first met John probably 40 years ago when sourcing Mushrooms. Well before his move to South Milford.
I led a team who organised many events in the village, the bonfire ran for 25 years from the early 90`s.
John was there, and supported us every time with various requests. In the era of modern banking I would often have to send him money back after the sponsorship was received many times.
Damm internet banking he would say. I am sorry.
John was a true gentleman who I never heard a  wrong word about.
Taken from his family sadly far too early I would like the family to know how we in the wider community miss him too.