On August 27, 2012, I, Patricia Ann Mills-Spencer-Bemis-Adams, left this world for what I hope to be Genealogy Heaven. This is where I hope to finally have all of my genealogy questions answered.
I was born to John Wesley Mills and Dorothy Nesbeth Reed August 11, 1938 while living at 91 Gresham St., Ashland, Ore. At the age of one year, we moved to Portland, Ore., as daddy had a job at Swan Island Ship Yards. By the time we moved back to Ashland in 1945, we were a family of six. I attended the first and second grades in Multnomah, Oregon, then third grade through high school in Ashland.
October 6, 1956, I married Jack E. Spencer in Yreka, Calif. Jack and I lived many places including one year as managers of White Oak Nudist Camp in Shady Cove, Ore. Our son, Kevin Michael Spencer was born September 9, 1960 in Central Point, Ore. Shortly after Kevin arrived, Jack left me. I went back to work at Bear Creek and began a relationship with Jack B. Gundlach with whom I had my second son, James Anthony Spencer. I then had a very brief marriage to Ronald Bemis.
I went to work at Rogue Valley News, a job I loved. I couldn't wait to get to work every morning. I was there for seven years when I was fired. Welfare was my next step. I think that my personal experience with the welfare program is far from the usual experience for most people, since I ended up becoming a welfare advocate. I again enjoyed what I was doing and together with a group of women advocates we changed some of the Oregon welfare laws, started Help Line and Personal Achievement, as well as a few other programs. I was noticed by the state welfare office and was offered a job in the Jackson County welfare office's Health and Human Services Department. I helped organize and induced change in some of the medical qualifications required by the State of Oregon.
Next came a big change in my life; I met Allan M. Adams when he came from Hawaii and purchased Rogue Valley News. My mother was still employed there and we carpooled to our jobs. One day I passed by as Mr. Adams was speaking to some of the staff telling them that he was thinking about a trip to Africa. I laughed and casually told him that he should give me a call when he was ready to go. I thought nothing more of it. As I was picking up my mother one day, Mr. Adams approached me and asked me if I would be interested in joining him for dinner when he returned from a trip to New York. I gave him my phone number. Yes, he was my mother's boss, but a steak dinner was a steak dinner. It was while we were dating that the trip to Africa came up again. He said Patty would you like to come with me to Africa, even better, let's go around the world. He started to show up with travel information about Africa as well as other worldly travel. I just thought that it was all talk and just a line until one night he showed up with a passport application, hotel reservations for all the capitals of Europe and Africa, and plane tickets! We left in October of 1974 and traveled for six weeks. When we returned, we married in Medford, Ore. January 17, 1975. We honeymooned in American and Western Samoa. This was just the beginning of our many travels. We visited over 120 countries, all provinces of Canada, as well as all 52 states at least three times.
During this wonderful time, we saw the world as you can no longer see it. We also found time at home to start the President's Ball for Southern Oregon College and the Ashland Hospital Gala. I served on the Schneider Museum board, the Ashland Community Hospital board, and The Rogue Valley Symphony Guild. I worked with Ashland Chamber of Commerce Lights for Ashland. My mother, my friend Evelyn Pravecek, and I put on the largest Doll, Teddy Bear, and Miniature Show in Oregon for eight consecutive years.
In August of 1978, my father , John W. Mills III passed away and my mother Dorothy N. Mills left us in April of 1998. One year later, in April of 1999, Allan went on his last trip.
I left Ashland in 2000 to live in Woodbridge, Virginia and then in 2001 I moved to Farmington, Minn. where I have spent the last years of my life telling my grandson Matthew, The day that you graduate from high school you will find me out in the school parking lot with the moving truck all packed, screaming hurry up, Oregon can't wait any longer!'.
I am survived by my son, Kevin Michael Spencer and his wife Debra of Petersburg, Ind. ( I am hoping that it is soon back to Oregon for them); grandchildren, Katie Spencer, of Delhi, Calif. and Jeff Spencer of Phoenix, Ariz. My second son James Anthony (Tony) Spencer of Farmington, Minn.; grandchildren, Amanda Spencer, Minneapolis, Minn. and Matthew Spencer of Farmington, Minn.; my sister, Donna Lohman of Mechanicsburg, Pa.; brothers, John W. Mills (Jack) and his wife Barbara and Richard Mills and his wife Judi of Clyde Park, Mont.
I am also survived by my five friends who have been with me through it all. Glenmora (Sis) Arnold of Phoenix, Ore.; Ida Reno of Victoria, Texas; Evelyn Pravecek of Conn.; Judi Fuller of Vancouver, Wash.; and Nancy Cole of Ashland, Ore. Last, but not least, my cat Zelda who thinks that she is my baby.
One of the last words that my mother spoke before passing was, I'm so very excited, so excited. I am going to explore and explore. At last I will know all about John W. Mills the 1st.