Stewart C. Mills, Jr., 93, of East Gull Lake, passed away 24 September 2021 at 11 a.m. at his home overlooking Gull Lake with his loved ones by his side.
Stew Jr. was born on 8 September 1928 in Brainerd, Minnesota, the son of Stewart C. and Helen K. (Wolf) Mills. He spent a good amount of time with his Nana Mae, and also lived with her a period of time, in his upbringing. He attended Whittier Elementary School and Franklin Junior High School in Brainerd. Although Stew Jr. may have skipped school a time or two to go hunting – and got in some trouble for it – he graduated from Brained High School in 1946. He continued his education graduating from Brainerd Junior College in 1948, attended the University of Minnesota from 1948 – 1949, before taking some time off to explore Alaska. He completed his college education at Hamline University graduating in 1951, with a major in Business Administration.
Stew Jr. also proudly served his country. He was a member of the 194th Tank Battalion, and was a Minnesota National Guard member before enlisting in the US Army and serving until 1959. He graduated from the US Army Adjutant General School, was selected to represent enlisted men at the official lighting of the Christmas Tree by President Harry Truman at the nation’s capital, and was an Army Drill Instructor in Fort Riley, KS. He also was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany for 2 years directly serving a Two Star General. Stew Jr. was a passionate patriot who believed strongly in honoring veterans.
Stew Jr., along with his twin brother, Henry C. Mills II, started and was the owner of Mills Fleet Farm and its various affiliated companies from 1955 - 2016. They operated 36 retail stores throughout the upper Mid-West. Stew Jr. passionately ran his Mills Fleet Farm stores and business with great Leadership and care for his Team Members and Customers. Stew Jr. also particularly had a fondness for running his Automotive Group, proudly carrying on and growing the business that his Dad had owned in downtown Brainerd since 1922. He had a love of vehicles especially Fords and Studebakers. He continued being an owner of the Mills Automotive Group, along with his daughter Marisa Mae Mills, from 2016 forward.
Stew Jr. was passionate about life and passionate about living life to the fullest. He was equally passionate about hunting as he was working. His Nana Mae taught him to shoot. All facets of hunting and the outdoors was a major way of life for Stew Jr. His ability to waterski and put on a show on his trick skis was unmatched, as was his enjoyment of the tricks he performed. He equally loved downhill skiing in Vail, Colorado, and boating, especially on the Gull Lake Chain. Stew Jr. was extremely creative in many ways, including good with woodworking, and had made a lamp and other items out of wood in his upbringing. He was a life-long avid history buff and explorer of history. Stew Jr. would regularly say ‘Be the Best you can Be!’, encouraging everyone to be the best version of themselves they could be!
In Stew Jr.’s more recent years he continued to love being near the water and at Gull Lake, boating on Gull Lake and in FL, he continued to travel the world with his daughter and girlfriend, and enjoyed much loving companionship with his long-time girlfriend, Andre Margaux.
He will be forever remembered and dearly loved by his daughter, Marisa Mae Mills (Gus); sons, Stewart C. Mills III (Heather), and Travis D. Mills, Sr.; grandchildren, Travis D. Mills, Jr., Christian S. Mills, Stewart C. Mills, IV, and Jade D. Mills; long-time girlfriend, Andre Margaux; and dog, Max.
Acknowledgement of the loving care of special family friends, Jack Lodermeier, Maureen O’Gara, Cindy Spangenberg, Cory Peterson; the fine Team and friends at Good Neighbor: Stephenie, LeeAnn, Terri, Bonnie, Shirley; the fine Team of nurses, Doctors, and caregivers with Good Samaritan of Nisswa: Travis, Amber, Kari, and more; and the fine Team of nurses and Doctors at St. Joseph’s Medical Center.
Memorials are preferred and appreciated to the Salvation Army or Shriner’s Children Hospital.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Stewart C. Mills, Jr., please visit our floral store.