Betty Lee Howard Mills, age 88, passed away on April 19, 2020 at her home in Lexington, surrounded by Lee Thomas (Tom) Mills, her husband of 66 years, and their four children.
She was born on February 14, 1932 in Black Snake, KY, the daughter of the late John J. and Sarah Howard, of Pineville, KY.
Tom and Betty were high school sweethearts. Tom captained the football team; Betty captained the cheerleading squad. Tom was class president, Betty vice-president. She earned superior ratings in regional and state speech and debate competitions. She graduated from Pineville High School in 1950. She earned her undergraduate degree in Home Economics from Berea College in 1954 and later, her Master’s degree from Georgetown College. Tom and Betty married on March 6, 1954.
Her commitment to family was tireless and unconditional. Her abundance of love was such that each child and grandchild felt they were the most special person in her world. She was the #1 fan of all her children and grandchildren’s vast array of activities. She was the apple of every grandchild’s eye, influential beyond measure. Her hospitable nature mirrored that of her parents. No one ever left her home without food or candy in tow.
A Bible scholar, resolute in her Christian faith, she served as a Baptist Study Fellowship leader for years. She enjoyed Kentucky’s high school basketball tournament, attending 50 consecutive Sweet 16 tournaments from 1968-2018. She retired from her Frankfort Independent Schools teaching position in 1988. Kind and generous beyond description, her advice regarding tone of voice will live generationally: “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”
She is survived by her loving, devoted husband Tom and their children: Thomas Mills, Danville; Randy (Emily) Mills, Frankfort; Jennifer Mills (Rusty) Andes, Georgetown; and David (Mendy) Mills, Richmond. She has eleven grandchildren: Brittney Mills (Nick) Adams; Amber Leigh Mills; Erica Mills (Sam) Yeary; Amanda Mills (Jared) Cutright; Grant Thomas (Barbara) Mills; Kyndel Andes (Phillip) Herbst; Haley Andes; Renee and Derek Mills; Griffin and Trey Sexton. She has twelve great-grandchildren: Addison Leigh and Luke Thomas Adams; Grayson Thomas Yeary; Jackson Thomas and Lee Howard Mills; Marcy, Margarette, Mary Ellen and Madylin Herbst; Bryan Andes; Henry Thomas and Clayton Cutright. She is also survived by her dear brothers Orville (Helen), Oscar and Henry Howard and by a host of nieces and nephews, including caregiver Sue Ellen Thomas (Skeeter) Warren. She is preceded in death by loving siblings Thelma Asher; Jean Thompson; Mildred Osborne; JW Howard and Robert Howard.
The family expresses its gratitude to her committed caregivers. Any contributions in memory of Betty may be made to Parkway Baptist Church; 1915 N. Broadway; Lexington, KY 40505. Kerr Brothers Funeral Home, Lexington, KY handling arrangements.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Betty Lee (Howard) Mills, please visit our floral store.