Georgia Ann Harris Mills, 87, of Payson, Utah, graduated this life peacefully on October 23, 2023 due to lymphoma that swept through her body. Though she suffered some pain, she endured it with grace and humor. Supporting her through this challenge were many friends, extended family members, and all of her children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren who came to visit.
Georgia, the youngest of four girls, was born December 11, 1935 to George Milton Harris and Lenore Jackson Harris in Salt Lake City, Utah. During her early years she started forming ideas of what she wanted her life to be. Following her graduation from South High School, she earned a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Utah.
Georgia taught second and third grades for nine years, substituted for a couple years and, later, trained to become a secretary, eventually starting her own secretarial business. Georgia then was hired by Kennecott where she started as an Executive Secretary and retired, after ten years of service, as an Executive Assistant.
Georgia’s greatest goal, set in her teen years, was to have a loving family with a return-missionary husband, who would marry her in the temple for time and all eternity. This goal was accomplished as she met and later married Grant Carpenter Mills in the Salt Lake Temple. When they met and Grant showed serious interest, Georgia told him, “I’m only marrying a returned missionary.” Grant was serious enough that he chose to go on a mission and was called to Canada. Georgia promised to wait and, while doing so, served as a stake missionary. Upon mission completion they married and reared five wonderful children who followed her example to be sealed in the temple of her God.
Georgia truly loved being together with and surrounded by her immediate family and her tremendous extended family. For many years she and Grant met monthly to play games with Grant’s four brothers and their wives. Georgia cherished the regular extended family “park parties,” which were held almost every month for many years, that included all the Mills brothers, their wives, and their many children. The Mills clan got together every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas and an annual camping event at the Spruces in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Family was Georgia’s priority and her greatest joys were her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren.
Along with building a loving family, Georgia had determined, early in life, to become a light, a beacon, and a testimony of her Savior, Jesus Christ, to all she met. Her life became one of service and love to everyone. She made friends with everyone and let each person know she loved and cared about them—through listening and helping them through their problems; through baking and sharing wonderful meals and desserts; or through whatever means it took for them to feel her love.
In addition to countless hours of anonymous and “informal” ministering to others, Georgia served in a myriad of other “formal” capacities in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including teaching the youth, teaching in Relief Society, and serving as president and in the presidency of several Stake and Ward organizations. Moreover, she was often called upon to use her musical talent by serving as pianist and organist. She enjoyed accompanying special musical numbers, for which she always carefully prepared and lovingly shared.
Further service opportunities came as Georgia and Grant were called on a service mission to the Cambodian Branch (in West Valley City), and on a leadership mission to the Granger 12th Ward. Together, they offered great sacrifices through their service, blessing the lives of hundreds of people with their love and time.
Following Grant’s sudden passing in 2003, Georgia felt the prompting to serve a mission as a single sister. She was called to serve an 18-month mission to Fiji, where she taught piano to many students—all at different musical levels—and where she also served as a temple ordinance worker. Following her full-time mission to Fiji Georgia filled another 18-month service mission at the Family History Center Library in Salt Lake City. Not long after that, she felt prompted to sell her home and fill another full-time mission. Accordingly, she obediently submitted her application and was called to the Nauvoo, Illinois mission where she served as Mission Secretary and as Site Leader for the Lands and Records Office. Again, while in Nauvoo, her piano-playing talents were called upon as she accompanied many performances of the various plays that the Nauvoo missionaries shared each night with visiting tourists.
After her service in Nauvoo, Georgia moved to Payson, Utah where, for the past thirteen years, she developed many new and wonderful friendships and continued to serve in the Church and in the Community. Along with playing the piano and organ for her own ward and for neighboring assisted-living care centers, Georgia helped distribute food from the Utah Food Bank in her neighborhood. She also served as Rosewood Estates Homeowners Association president, as Cultus Club president, as a volunteer coordinator for the Peteetneet Museum, as member and teacher of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, and as a switchboard operator at the Payson, Utah Temple.
In addition to her spiritual capacities, over the years Georgia developed an amazing talent for decorating beautiful wedding cakes and for baking goodies of all kinds. Her rich brownies, her delicious Oreo cookies, her light and fluffy eclairs—these and so many other wonderful treats were always the first things to be picked up at any event. Everyone knew that, if you wanted a Georgia Mills dessert, you had better act quickly! In fact, one of her very young great-granddaughters named her “the best maker!”
Seeking and following the promptings of the Spirit is a gift Georgia has prioritized and fostered and which she holds dear above all else. She has tried, as she promised many years ago, to obey whatever God asks. Truly, she wanted to follow God’s will throughout her life. During her difficult closing weeks and days, she remained willing to submit to God’s plan, and that is the legacy she left for all of us—to “Let God Prevail.”
Georgia Ann Harris Mills truly was the light, the beacon, and the testimony of her Savior, Jesus Christ, that she had set out to become so many years ago. This world is a better place because of our dear mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, teacher, and friend. She will truly be remembered and missed by all who knew her.
Georgia was predeceased by her husband, Grant Carpenter Mills; her father, George Milton Harris; her mother, Lenore Jackson Harris Mills; her sisters, Faye Harris Lester, Dixie Eleanor Harris Mabon, and Joy Mae Harris Parmley/Skiver; and a great-grandson, Isaac Paul Brimley.
She is survived by her children, Rodney Harris Mills (Janet); Linda Mills Brimley (Ken); Steven Bradley Mills (Wendy); Gary Scott Mills (Becky); Jeffery Lynn Mills (Nicole); and twenty grandchildren and twenty-seven great-grandchildren.
Thank you for your loving tributes to Georgia and for your visits, thoughts, and prayers for Georgia and her family.
We love you Georgia.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, November 4, at 11:00 am in the Mountain View First Ward (1128 East 100 South, Payson, Utah), with a viewing at the same location from 9:30 -10:45 am. There will also be a viewing the evening before, Friday, November 3, from 6:00-8:00 pm at the same location. Interment will be Saturday, November 4, at 3:00 pm at the Memorial Redwood Mortuary and Cemetery (6500 South Redwood Road, West Jordan, Utah).
To participate in the services from your own home via live stream, please visit the link below.