ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Sterling Mills, 86 years old, born on January 26, 1934, and passed away on September 23, 2020. We will remember him forever.

Posted by Dana Cromwell on January 26, 2022
great man and family,,i remember staying in sterlings and irenes bed one night,,went to turn on a light,,,ooops,,was the fire alarm,,,the memory
Posted by Bridget Heath on January 26, 2022
Happy Birthday, Grampa. Love and miss you.
Posted by Shane Billings on January 22, 2022
Happy birthday, Grampa (Jan 26). I miss our Monday night chats. Life isn’t the same without you.
Posted by Tamara Hoy on August 29, 2021
When I was a little girl I left my beloved Shirley Temple doll in a motel room. We were on the way home from Key West and could not go back. One of the last things Dad said to me was, " I should have gone back for Shirley." He was a good dad! ❤

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Dana Cromwell on January 26, 2022
great man and family,,i remember staying in sterlings and irenes bed one night,,went to turn on a light,,,ooops,,was the fire alarm,,,the memory
Posted by Bridget Heath on January 26, 2022
Happy Birthday, Grampa. Love and miss you.
Posted by Shane Billings on January 22, 2022
Happy birthday, Grampa (Jan 26). I miss our Monday night chats. Life isn’t the same without you.
his Life
Sterling A. Mills, 86, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family on September 23rd, 2020. Sterling overcame many health issues, particularly with his heart, yet it was cancer that took him from us.

Sterling was born at the family farm in Otisfield, Maine on January 26, 1934 to Eva and Norman Mills.

He attended Lee Academy, graduating in June 1953. While there, Sterling met the love of his life, Irene Applebee. Sterling attended Maine Maritime Academy, where he was known as “Pappy”. He graduated in 1956, later becoming a full Lieutenant.

On June 13, 1956 he and Irene married in Irene’s hometown of Enfield, Maine and spent 64 years in a special, loving marriage. Sterling entered the U.S. Navy and received orders to report to San Diego Naval Station. He and Irene traveled cross country in his ’53 Chevy pickup and later returned to Bryant Pond, purchasing the family homestead on Rumford Avenue from his parents. There, he and Irene spent many happy years and raised their four children.

With his father, Norman, and Albert Penley Sr., Sterling founded Penley & Mills, a logging, construction, and land holding company. One of its biggest projects was building the scenic turnouts on the height of the land on Rte. 17 near Rangeley. The company also provided long term employment for many local families. Sterling also taught and served in the Naval Reserves, with family going along to Newport, RI, Norfolk, VA and Key West, FL. He later started Groundbreakers Excavation with his grandson Jason as well as Quentin Tyler.

Sterling bought a home movie camera in the 1950s and took many movies that the family still watches and treasures. In the 1960s, the family loved Sundays, attending Bryant Pond Baptist Church followed by Sunday drives to NH or bowling and getting a bite at Goodwin’s. In the 1970s, Sterling and Irene took their family to Disney World as well as Myrtle Beach, SC. Myrtle Beach became a favorite location for April vacations, and in 1995 Sterling and Irene built a house in Garden City Beach, SC, where they made many friends.

In 1986, Sterling cleared land and built a cabin on Concord Pond, Woodstock. The family spent many good times there. He later bought land on Lake Christopher, Bryant Pond and put in a cabin. The family enjoyed many pontoon boat rides with Sterling as their captain.

Sterling and Irene traveled much of the United States and Canada in their camper van. While in SC, Sterling belonged to Belin Methodist Church, the Elks Club and the American Legion. In Maine, Sterling was a member of the Kora Temple Shriners where he played trumpet in the band and later became a member of the motor corps driving his 1968 convertible. He was also a member of the Bryant Pond Grange Hall, the Masons, and the Locke Mills American Legion. In both SC and Maine, Sterling played the trumpet and trombone in several dance bands.

Sterling’s hobbies included traveling in their camper van, playing trumpet and trombone, attending concerts, fairs, and family and class reunions. He enjoyed Par 3 Golf and made a mini golf course in his yard in Bryant Pond. He enjoyed board games, particularly Pollyanna. With Pollyanna, he kept score of games won and awarded trophies. His children, their spouses, and his grandchildren are carrying on the tradition and love of the game.

Sterling was a storyteller to his children and grandchildren. He loved to spend time in the woods, on his pontoon boat, and with his collection of John Deere and Farmall tractors. He spent many hours mowing, going so far to put A/C and heat and an enclosure on his tractor. Sterling was known for his strong work ethic. His favorite place to be, however, was by his beloved Irene’s side.

Sterling received the Lee Academy Alumnus award. In 2020, Sterling and Irene received a Maine Spirit of America Foundation Tribute honor for commendable community service from the Town of Woodstock.

Sterling was predeceased by his parents, Norman and Eva Mills, his three brothers, Mark, Milton, and O’Neil. He is survived by his loving wife, Irene, children Tim (Jane) Mills, Tammy (Tom) Hoy, Jeffery (Tammy) Mills, and Betsey (Dan) Cummings; his 9 grandchildren, four great grandsons, and many extended family.

Recent stories

The ABCs of Grampa

Shared by Carly Sweeney on August 7, 2021
Read at his Celebration of Life

A - is for Alfred and the old ATV
B - is for Bryant Pond and Black Santa, who hung an upside down tree
C - is for the candy drawer, country music, crank telephones, Concord Pond, and the Chainsaw Christmas, the most memorable of them all
D - is for the double rainbow he gave us last fall
E - is for early riser, The Elks, and equipment making noise
F - is for family—four children, and being one of four boys
G - is for Groundbreakers and Garden City Beach
H - is for the hot stick we always hoped was out of reach
I - is for the Italian sandwich and Irene, his loving bride
J - is for JOBPARCS and a John Deere ride
K - is for K & W Cafeteria, a favorite place to eat
L - is for the ledge behind the house—the view can’t be beat
M - is for mini golf, mowing, and music
N - is for the U.S. Navy, although I heard he got seasick
O - is for Otisfield where he was born
P - is for Pollyanna, a game of both love and scorn
Q - is for Quentin, always at his side
R - is for the long South Carolina RV ride
S - is for Shriners, shuffleboard, and a strawberry ice cream cone
T - is for trucker hats, tractors, the trumpet and trombone
U - is for unique, it goes unsaid
V - is for (home) videos and the smell of Vapor Rub at bed
W - is for the woods and the Wolfaboomahs you wouldn’t want to meet there alone
X - is for Xcavator, because it was that or xylophone
Y - is for York Peppermint Patties hiding on the fridge
Z - is for ZZZs, the naps he would take just a smidge