Dr. Lloyd L. Mills, PhD.

Dr. Lloyd L. Mills, PhD., 86, of Kent, died Sunday, December 8, 2013 at the Stow Glen Retirement Center.

He was born April 9, 1927 in New Orleans, LA, the son of Sidney A. and Frieda M. (Moreno) Mills. He was a veteran of the Army during World War II. Dr. Mills was a Professor Emeritus of English at Kent State University.

As a scholar and admirer of Ben Jonson's work, Dr. Lloyd Mills embraced the great writer's argument that literary works should reflect both the artistic and moral integrity of the author, and strove to apply this principle to the whole of his personal and professional life. Lloyd Mills was a loved, treasured, and devoted husband and father to his wife Blanche, their three children and grandchildren. He was dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, philosophy, and the creative expression of language. The best description of Lloyd comes in the words of his students.

"The most important lesson he taught me was that words matter."

"To a boy from a small town in Ohio, Dr. Mills always seemed so erudite and wise, even the way he sat cross-legged at the head of the table in our poetry class, always ready with some insight into what we had written…He was a careful, gentle guide to me and my writing and to hundreds of other young people who fancied themselves poets and storytellers. He had the power to make all believe that we truly were."

"He was one of my first poetry-writing professors, and his enthusiasm was contagious. He believed in me. I could feel it, and I believe that's one of the reasons I continued writing poetry and eventually publishing."

"I still see him, in my memories, bounding (almost jumping when he walked) to class with a coffee cup in his hand, and then with a quiet, confident drawl launching into high-level poetry talk that left me at the edge of my seat. He was patient and generous with my writing -- and was patient and generous with me as a human being. Lloyd was an artistic and intellectual role model for me."

"Dr. Mills was more than a father to me when it came to artistic pursuits. By this point, I'd left prose behind and wrote only lineated material. A new me had been born ... my favorite friend, the only one who knew and inspired the creative-writing side of me, the only one who took me seriously also as a reader of his own work--i.e., related to me as an interesting brain, sculpting me into someone I wasn't, but still am."

"He usually stood in class - perhaps because the seminar rooms were always crowded with students anxious to take his classes and there were no remaining chairs. He presided over the workshop with a quiet guidance, a dry wit, and an obvious love and passion for poetry which he engendered in his students. He encouraged young writers to discover their voices in their own time. I am very grateful to had the chance to learn from him, and I will never forget him!"

These quotes are just a brief illustration of his creative legacy and his ability to transform the lives of his students. He was a true academic, gentlemen, and scholar and will be deeply missed by all who loved him, his family and friends.

He is survived by his son, Ralph Mills of Kent; daughters, Ellen (David Warner) Mills of NJ and Jane (Thomas) Atwood of Toledo; grandchildren, Celia Rae, Benjamin DeVorss, Justine DeVorss, A Z Wallbrown and Paul Warner; and great granddaughter, Isla Marie Peck. He was preceded in death by his wife, Blanche Mills In 2008.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the KSU Wick Poetry Center in Dr. Mills' Memory at (330) 672-2067, P.O. Box 5190, Kent, OH 44242. (Please include Dr. Mills in the memo line)

(RC 12-11-13)

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