Obituary of William H Mills Jr
In Memoriam: William Harold Mills, Jr.
William "Bill" Harold Mills, Jr., a distinguished figure who carved his own legacy in construction while following in the esteemed footsteps of his father, passed away on December 7, 2023, surrounded by his loving family.
Born in St. Petersburg on July 24, 1939, Bill was the son of William H. and Caroline B. Mills Sr. He leaves behind a profound legacy and is survived by his devoted wife of 33 years, Gigi Alice Mills, of St. Petersburg, and his children: William "Billy" Mills III (Christi) of St. Petersburg, Robert M. Mills (Susan) of Atlanta, GA, and Leslie A. Minder (Greg) of Tampa, Florida. His memory is further cherished by six grandchildren: William "Billy" Mills IV, Jonathan "Chase" Mills, Robert “Bobby” Mills Jr., Caroline Burruss (Thomas), Olivia M. Kirkpatrick, and Isabella K. Kirkpatrick. He is also survived by his sisters Mary Mills Anderson of Camiran, France, and Susan Mills of Berkeley, California, and his cousins John C. Mills Jr., Edwin Mills, and Stephanie Chapman, all of Tampa. and Carole Cowan and Charly Reynolds of St Petersburg. Bill was preceded in death by his parents, William H. and Caroline B. Mills Sr., his brother Donald Kensett Mills, and his sister Bridget Mills Parker.
Bill attended Woodberry Forest School in Virginia from 1955 to 1957 and then enrolled at the University of Florida in 1958. He earned his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida in 1962. Upon graduating from the University of Florida, he fulfilled his military service requirement serving as a USPHS Commissioned Officer from 1962 to 1964 (TJG, Ret.).
Throughout his professional life, Bill made significant contributions to the construction industry. After concluding his military service, he joined his father and served as Vice President of Mills & Jones Construction Co. in St. Petersburg from 1964 to 1967. In 1967, he had the opportunity to join The Wellington Corp. in Atlanta, GA, as Vice President. He stayed with them until 1971 when he was asked to return home to help his father with the rapidly growing Mills & Jones. Bill served as Executive Vice President of Mills & Jones until 1982. In 1982, he and his father formed Federal Construction Company, a nonunion construction company to supplement the union shop of Mills & Jones. Bill served as President & CEO of Federal Construction Company until 1991. During his tenure, it became the largest Construction Management Company in the Southeast United States. From 1991 until his passing in 2023, Bill served as the Founder, President & CEO of University Housing Services, Inc. in St. Petersburg. University Housing was responsible for over 30 student housing projects in the Southeast United States.
Beyond his professional pursuits, Bill was an active and esteemed member of numerous clubs and organizations that reflected his diverse interests. He held membership in the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, Dragon Club, Les Ambassadeurs Club in London, Annabel's in London, Oh No Club, Quarterback Club, and Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity - Florida Upsilon, The Vinoy Club, Suncoasters, Associated Marine Institutes, and St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors. Bill was also a dedicated member of the Useppa Island Club board of Governors, United States Croquet Association, and the Pinellas Marine Institute, where he served as the founding chairman. Additionally, he was a founding member of the Feather Sound Country Club.
His commitment to community service extended further with involvement in organizations such as the President's Council - University of Florida (life member), St. Petersburg Progress, Inc. (past president), Florida Dept. of Commerce Sports Advisory Council in Tallahassee, St. Anthony's Hospital Development Foundation, Blue Ribbon Zoning Committee in the City of St. Petersburg (past Chairman), Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board, Tampa Bay Aviation Advisory Committee, United Fund of Pinellas County (Board of Directors, VP), Advisory Board for the University of South Florida, Bayboro Campus, and the Tony Jannus Awards Committee. Bill was also an active member of professional organizations, including the American Society of Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, and American Institute of Constructors. Holding a Class "N' General Contractor designation in the State of Florida, he was also an FAA Licensed Pilot with Commercial, Instrument, Multi-Engine Land Ratings.
In 1984, Bill was honored with the role of Honorary Royal Navy Liaison, a commitment that held a special place in his heart. Serving in this capacity, he embarked on numerous journeys aboard British warships, hosted many fabulous Christmas parties for the crew members that visited St Petersburg on their Royal Navy ships and formed many enduring friendships within the British Royal Navy.
In his leisure time, Bill enjoyed boating, fishing, croquet, and gardening, but his greatest pleasure came from the opportunity to spend time with his children and grandchildren.
A private family funeral and burial will be held, with a celebration of life to be scheduled at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Mr. Mills' memory may be made to Woodberry Forest School (402 Woodberry Station, Woodberry Forest, VA 22989) or PARC Center for Disabilities (3190 75th Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33710-2919).
The world has lost a remarkable individual whose impact will endure in the hearts of those who knew him.
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