Mary K. Mills

July 17, 1918 ‒ March 05, 2008

Marion, Ohio

Mary K. Mills, age 89, of Marion, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday evening, March 5, 2008, at Heartland of Marion following a brief illness.

She was born in Marion, Ohio, on July 17, 1918, the daughter of the late Charles and Wilhelmina “Winnie” (Rudolph) Alheit. Mary K. graduated from Marion Harding High School in the Class of 1936.

On June 30, 1942, Mary K. married a “sophisticated” young lad, Ralph E. Mills, in Marion. Together they shared nearly 30 years until he preceded her in death on December 14, 1971. Her love and devotion to Ralph was still strong to her last days, as she continued to refer to herself as Mrs. Ralph Mills even thirty seven years later.

A lifelong resident of Marion, Mary K. never left her beloved family home on Chestnut Street. Her father, Charles, passed away shortly after she was married to Ralph, and they decided to stay at her home to care for her mother, Winnie.

In 1938, when the Unemployment Compensation Law went into effect, Mary K. was hired as a clerk for the State of Ohio. In 1955, through continued education and overachieving hard work, she was promoted to the position of Director of the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services (OBES); a position she held for over 50 years. Mary K. earned countless awards for her excellence as Director, and she was proud of being honored as the Boss of the Year by the Marion Area Business Woman. To this day, she is still the longest tenured state employee after having worked for nearly sixty years for the State of Ohio.

During those 60 years of dedication to the community of Marion and State of Ohio through the OBES, Mary K. would ask herself “how can she help each person with whom she comes in contact become their very best?” Most difficult challenges and situations were given to her, because of her reputation and results she had produced time and time again. Her proudest achievement was assembling a crew of well over 100 highly skilled welders, most coming from Marion Power Shovel, to go to Florida to build the crawler for further moon exploration.

Mary K. continued to give of herself outside of the OBES, as she enjoyed job counseling in classes at the Marion Correctional Institution and North Central Correctional Institute. She was chosen to represent Management in Government as a member of Altrusa. Some may remember her for giving “job tips” on WMRN for over 55 years.

A woman of deep faith, Mary K. was a devoted member of the Emanuel Lutheran Church, where she taught Sunday School for over 40 years, and played the piano for the junior choir. In the words of her pastor, Mary K. “had a deep love and respect for her congregation” at Emanuel.

With a passion for music, Mary K. loved to play the piano and many pieces she could play from memory. With her friends Lozella Ruth, Ann Bennett, and Dorothy Boger, they enjoyed playing in a piano quartet. She was a state music counselor for the Federation of Music Clubs for eighteen years, and often helped direct the Christmas plays held at the Marion Correctional Institute.

Mary K. lived life with the motto: “Do little things, but with a lot of love.” Her “little things” grew into very big things because of the how much love she put into everything. Each and every day, “Mary K. would put her heart and soul into all she would do,” and at times it was to her detriment as she would completely ignore her own needs. All in all, the world is a much better place, because of Mary K’s contributions.

She will be missed by many friends, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Friends may call on Monday, March 10, 2008 from 4 – 7 p.m. at the Denzer-Farison-Hottinger & Snyder Funeral Home, 360 East Center Street, Marion. An open house reception will be held from 9:30 a.m. until the start of services celebrating her life on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at the Emanuel Lutheran Church, 241 South Prospect, Marion, with Rev. J. Weston Jones officiating. Burial will follow in Fairview Cemetery in Galion.

Memorial contributions if desired may be made to the Emanuel Lutheran Church, 241 South Prospect, Marion, Ohio 43302.

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