Joyce Mills

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A memorial service for Betty Joyce Mills, 81, formerly of Brinson, will be held at a later date.
Born July 8, 1928, in Brinson, Mrs. Mills died on Feb. 26, 2010, at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, N.H., surrounded by a circle of friends after a gallant struggle with failing health.

Ms. Mills was the daughter of John Bill and Louise Herring Mills. She graduated from Brinson High School and from Georgia State College for Women in Milledgeville, Ga. She did post-graduate studies at the University of Tennessee.

Ms. Mills was a professor of physical education at the University of New Hampshire for more than 30 years beginning in the late 1950s. Prior to her tenure at the University of New Hampshire, she taught at Boston College in Boston, Mass., and then went to teach at the University of California at Santa Barbara from 1964 to 1966. But her love for New England, particularly Durham Point in Durham, N.H., brought her back to the East Coast, where she made her home for more than 45 years on Little Bay, Durham, N.H.

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Over the years, Ms. Mills taught many classes, including golf, archery, swimming, tennis, skiing, tumbling, speed ball and recreational games. She was instrumental in developing a sports literature class at the University of New Hampshire and was invited to many colleges to speak regarding the class. In the early 1970s, Ms. Mills coached both the women’s basketball and tennis teams at the university, and loved the exuberance and enthusiasm of all her players, many of whom she still kept in contact with.

A charter member of the Lubberland Yacht Club, Ms. Mills’ red and white sail has been a familiar sight on Little Bay and Great Bay from spring to fall. From her home hard by the shore of Little Bay, Joyce sailed her Merry Mac No. 29, canoed, kayaked and swam from her dock as often as possible. She was an accomplished downhill and cross-country skier as well as a snowshoer.

Ms. Mills loved all kinds of music, her many dogs and cats, the birds, the outdoors and traveling. She was a constant good friend.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother-in-law, Dr. Glenn Watkins; five aunts and nine uncles.

Survivors include her sister, Daisy Watkins of Brinson; her nephew, John Glenn Watkins of Brinson; her niece, Bette Watkins Pfender and her husband, Norbert Pfender, of Eagan, Minn.; grand-nieces Cassie and Loren Pfender of Eagan; aunts, Marie Widener Sheirling of Blakely, Ga., Vivian “Dickie” Harter and Ruby Longo, both of Albany, Ga., and Dorothy Hall of Olympia, Wash.; as well as many dear cousins and a host of wonderful friends from all over the country.

If desired, contributions, in honor of Ms. Mills, may be given to a charity of your choice.

Cremation Society of New Hampshire was in charge of arrangements.