A RETIRED family doctor from Burton has been remembered at a funeral service at the church he loved.
Geoffrey Mills, who died on New Year’s Day at the age of 79, was a proud Lancastrian but moved to Burton in 1962, settling down with his wife and fellow doctor, Mary Mills, at the house in Brizlincote Lane they would share for half a century.
After spending more than 30 years at Wetmore Road Surgery, where his wife also worked, Dr Mills retired in 1994, spending much of his time collecting scrap metal, which he sold to aid the restoration fund at St Mark’s Church, in Winshill.
He raised almost £20,000 for the church at which he and his wife were regular attendees, where a packed congregation marked his passing at a service on Wednesday.
Mary Mills told the Mail: “Geoffrey’s funeral was very well attended and it was like having a huge second family who were there to support us. It was really lovely.
“His faith was very important to him. It’s not something he talked about a lot particularly, but he lived it – a Christian life – and that’s more important.”
Dr Mills, originally from Oldham, met his future wife while the pair studied medicine at Birmingham University, and was well regarded by patients, one of whom remembered him making her fire up for her during a winter house call.
Mary Mills said: “Wetmore Road was a very friendly practice and Geoffrey enjoyed his work, but took it seriously. It’s the kind of job where you have to like people and be interested in them, which he was.”
A wildlife enthusiast with a particular interest in birds, bees and butterflies, Dr Mills also enjoyed DIY, working on jobs including helping his son, John, transform a derelict water tower off Wharf Road into the Tower Brewery.
In recent years, he had suffered with dementia, but with the support of his wife was able to carry on living a normal life.
She said: “I have seen so many people with dementia who had to go into residential homes but although he became very forgetful and needed a lot of prompting, he was still very independent right until the end, and I feel so blessed because of that.
“I’m extremely grateful for all the support we’ve received both before and after he died.
“People have been so kind and everyone at the church treated him as if he were his normal self, even if he couldn’t remember who they were.
“Geoffrey was always very kind to me and he never complained. He was quite a quiet person, but he was very caring.”
Rev Michael Mookerjee, vicar of St Mark’s, said: “Geoffrey served the community well and will be remembered by many for his medical service.
“Being a medical man, he served humanity well, and his motto in life was to give life
“He was a dear friend, a loyal member and a very regular worshipper of this church and his departure has saddened us all.”
Dr Mills is survived by his wife, son, three daughters and nine grandchildren.