Thomas William Henry Mills

December 25, 1941 ‒ January 12, 2021

Delaware, Ohio

Thomas William Henry Mills of Delaware, Ohio and formerly of Santa Maria, California, passed away surrounded by his family on January 12, 2021.

Tom was born on December 25, 1941. He is preceded in death by his father Thomas Mills and his mother, Lois (Gaddis) Mills and his loving wife Linda (McCabe) Mills.

Tom grew up in Guadalupe, California. He graduated from Santa Maria High School in 1959. Tom attended Allen Hancock and Westmont College where he earned a BA in Social Science. Tom was drafted in 1966 to the Vietnam War where he proudly served in the US Army. Upon his return, he moved to Santa Barbara where he met Linda McCabe. Tom and Linda were married in Montecito, California on June 26, 1971.

Tom later went on to complete his Ph.D. and taught all levels of education from elementary to the collegiate level. He was a longtime teacher with Lompoc Unified School District where he taught for over 30 years.

Tom loved teaching and his love for teaching went beyond the classroom where he taught English to foreign exchange students through Cultural Homestay Institute. Tom was selected and received the very prestigious honor to teach abroad in England for one year through the Fulbright Teacher Exchange program where he taught at John Kelly Boys School in London.

Tom was a longtime member of Grace Baptist Church in Santa Maria, California. He enjoyed singing in the choir, and participating in the annual Living Christmas Tree program. Moving to Delaware, Ohio in 2016, he became a member of Delaware Bible Church.

Since 1972, he has faithfully served with Gideons International, passing out New Testament Bibles around the California Central Coast and more recently, the Delaware County Fair, and Ohio Wesleyan University campus.
In 2019, Tom had the unforgettable experience of travelling to Washington DC with Honor Flight.

Tom loved traveling and seeing the world. Some of his favorite trips were to Hawaii, Australia, and Europe. He took his children on many great adventures, a legacy that they have carried on with their own families. Tom had a deep love of learning and always sought out new experiences and novel opportunities for learning that he instilled in his family.

Left to cherish his memory are his two brothers; Bill (Sandi) Mills; and Allen Mills; his three children; son, Tommy Mills; his daughters, Kym (Kurt) Kaelber and Andrea (Paul) Giorgi; and was known as Papa to his grandchildren, Kylee, Kaden, and Kason Kaelber and Ella, Micah, Rilynn, and Henry Giorgi.

Tom was witty, kind, loving, patient, and extremely humble and to know him, was to love him. He enjoyed reading, classical music, chess, and board games – always looking for an opponent to play Strat-O-Matic baseball with. He enjoyed watching the Dodgers and his knowledge of all things, baseball was remarkable. Spending time with his grandkids was his favorite hobby, especially trips to Disneyland. Tom considered the greatest gifts the Lord gave to him were his wife, his three children, and his seven grandchildren. Tom’s greatest legacy is, and will be, his faith in Jesus Christ where he lived a life that truly glorified Him until the moment he passed.

The Mills family would like to express their gratitude and thanks to the Grady Memorial Hospital and Ohio Health Hospice staff.

Private family graveside services will be held at the Waldo Cemetery with military honors conducted by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1095 of Delaware.

The Snyder-Rodman Funeral Center of Delaware is honored to serve this veteran and his family.

To share a fond memory of Tom or to offer a condolence to his family, please visit

  • Tom was a quiet, calm soul, and I’m glad to have known him. He will be missed by his family, for sure, but I know he is rejoicing with Linda in heaven right now. What a beautiful sight that must be. Praying for peace for the ones he left behind.

  • I am so sorry to hear of Tom’s passing. He was a wonderful man with a quiet sense of humor and so dedicated to the tasks God set before him. I remember him and Linda fondly from our time in the Grace choir. He has been missed by his Grace family.

  • Tom and I became great friends in choir at Grace. We had this thing going where he would come in to choir practice and begin giving me a bad time. I would tell him to sit down and shut up. He would sit, and we both would laugh. You had to know his sense of humor to appreciate that. I will miss him but rejoice in the fact he is with Jesus and Linda. Praying for the family. Blessings, Bud Kelley

  • So sorry to hear of Tom’s passing. He was a blessing to those at Grace. May the family know that he is now with Linda, enjoying their final time together. God Bless you all. Ann Murtha

  • Lord Tom was an outstanding and extremely attentive and kind person to us always and leaves a spiritual legacy and commitment to sharing God’s love with people. It was a privilege to have lived with him. His beautiful family are trails of light that he managed to multiply so that his presence is not forgotten. We are very sorry about his departure. We love you so much! Lúcia Helena and Jorge Floriano- Columbus

  • Tom had a positive influence on many people. His faith was always evident. I participated in many years if having students from the cultural home stay program that he and Linda led. May God comfort those Tom has left behind.

  • Hello from Santa Maria. I taught for many years with your Dad at Los Padres School. Then when your Mom Linda came to our school, she was in the room next to mine. When gasoline became so expensive and there were long lines at the gas stations, your Dad and Mr. Foster and myself carpooled to school. I remember your Dad as being very witty and quiet. Thank you for writing such a beautiful obituary. I will share it with my teacher friends. God Bless!

  • I am very saddened by this news, yet forever grateful for the time I had to live with your family in Summer 1992. Many years later when I returned to the Santa Maria Area, Tom Mills was especially great about holding me accountable if I missed church on Sunday mornings (when traveling south). My Mom would say that he was the only one who could do that so effectively and lovingly! Thank you for sharing “Dad Mills” with me. May God’s Peace comfort you during this time. With lots of love and prayers, Shirley Jacob

  • I knew Tom (“General”) Mills at Westmont College, when we were both students there many years ago. He was the best friend of my husband-to-be. They maintained contact for over 50 years until Tom’s death. He was a loyal and kind friend who loved the Lord.
    May your family be comforted in your loss, and in the secure knowledge that Tom is “absent from the body and present with the Lord.”

  • My sincerest condolences to the family. I taught with Tom at Hapgood Elementary School. Even after retiring, I enjoyed receiving his emails full of funny jokes and stories (way before Facebook). Although Tom and I were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, I enjoyed my conversations with Tom. A kind man with so much love to give the world. I always joked with Tom about how much he lucked out with such a beautiful wife so out of his league! Safe travels friend.

  • My condolences to Tom’s family. I am surprised to read of his passing just a few days ago. But I am thankful for the excellent obit and knowing that he has lived a blessed life and has given, so many, moments shared to keep as cherished mementos I met Tom and his brothers back in Guadalupe when they lived a couple of blocks up on Tognazzini Street. He was already a Chess Master back then!!

  • My condolences to the family. I grew up with Tom in Guadalupe. We just kids them. We went to the same church and our family was friends. In the later years our daughters went to the same school and Tom and his family were active in school activities. It is with great sadness to hear of his passing. May God hold him in is arms. Grant his family the strength in this time of sorrow.

  • The privilege of being Tom’s roommate at Westmont College was one of the highlights of my college years. I invited him to visit my family’s farm one Thanksgiving holiday, east of San Diego in the Imperial Valley, and he, in turn invited me to his family home in Guadalupe, CA, where we experienced what was known as a “Mill’s Feed!” What an experience! One I will never forget! Another experience I’ll always remember was receiving, mid-school year, a new student in my Goleta classroom (as I also was a schoolteacher) straight from Tom’s classroom in Lompoc. I called Tom on school District time to confer about the student regarding things I needed to know, as a teacher, in order to make the best placement for the student in my study groups. Tom was the “real deal!” My sympathies are with each family member for losing immediate contact with Tom, but I know you are relieved that he is no longer in pain- and I know that we shall meet him again some day! What a wonderful man he was!

  • Well-done Tom! You have graduated. At 80 years of age I sit here joyfully in reflection of our Westmont days and more recently, our telephone conversations these past couple of years. Forbearing and gracious you struggled to communicate and I am appreciative to you for that.

    Norman Vincent Peale once said (paraphrased) To be a good communicator, speak 30% of the time and listen 70% of the time. Tom, you improved on his percentages.

    You seemed to effortlessly summon your thoughts. Relying on a fine mind, memory and sense of history you would combine words in a coherent and instructive way. I’m not sure you meant to be instructive but you created thoughts that would invite answers. You were never judgmental, rather inviting.

    I am grateful for your life and a bit greedy having not made a connection with you and Linda in your Santa Maria years.

    One of the nicer days of my life was having the privilege of spending the day with you and Richard Huff at the Norton Simon in Pasadena. You brought history and perspective to the day increasing the joy of those moments together. Really precious!

    Tommy, many thanks for being there for your dad. Tom was grateful for you and all of his family. To all of you adored grandchildren, as time goes by I trust you will continue to revisit your relationships with him. He was a wise man with great perspective in today’s world.

  • Laura and I have a deep appreciation for Tom. His love for God was always present.

    He was always encouraging when we needed or be lifted up, he had a great dry sense of humor to bring a light moment to a conversation when needed and had a vast knowledge of wide ranging subjects. It was a pleasure to have Tom and Linda involved in the small group with us. He always added insight to the conversation.

    We will miss Tom greatly.

  • It was good to know Tom as part of Grace Baptist in Santa Maria. I always enjoyed my conversations with him and I was happy to discover that we both went to the same college, although at different times. A fellow Westmont-ster nonetheless!

    Part of God’s gift to me through Tom has been his family, which is an enduring part of his legacy. I consider the time that I have spent with Paul and Andrea in friendship and ministry to be among the best experiences of my life. Had there not been a Tom and Linda, there would not have been the larger family which has blest me so much.

    Probably the thing that stands out the most to me is Tom’s devotion to the Gideon Bible ministry. He spoke to the church about it on many occasions and I was always so impressed with his passion and dedication to the work of that important organization.

    See you soon, brother Tom – at the feet of Jesus!

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