Paul Grey Mills, 94, of Mooresville, N.C., passed away peacefully at his home on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. A graveside service will be held on Friday, September 11, 2020, at 11 a.m. at Glenwood Memorial Park in Mooresville. Dr. Gray Little and Reverend Mark Pitts will officiate. Arrangements are being handled by Cavin-Cook Funeral Home in Mooresville. Those wishing to share memories or condolences may do so at www.cavin-cook.com.
Paul was guided by his devotion to Jesus, pride in his community, and love for his family — and he set an incredible example of servant leadership along the way. A proud resident of Mooresville, Paul was born on August 28, 1926, to Lonnie Edgar and Bessie Mae Coggins Mills, whom he joins in Heaven, along with his siblings, James Edgar Mills, Julia Jermaine Mills, Nealess Brawley Mills, and Melvin Eugene Mills. He graduated in 1944 from Central High School in Mooresville.
In an example of both service and leadership, he joined the United States Army and served at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, from 1945 to 1946. There, he rose to the rank of Acting Supply Sergeant and was awarded the Good Conduct Medal and the WWII Victory Medal for his service.
Paul studied accounting at the Carolina Business School in Charlotte, and obtained his Charter Life Underwriting Certification, then worked for multiple insurance companies, including Pilot Life, Lincoln National Life, and Minister’s Life. Ultimately, he used his skills in business to fulfill the American Dream of entrepreneurship, opening House of Flowers in 1973 alongside his wife Jean — his partner in business and his partner in life. The shop later became Jean’s Hallmark Shop. A true family business, his children fondly remember working in the shop with their parents. Behind the counter in the Port City Shopping Center in downtown Mooresville, they learned important life lessons like the value of a dollar and the importance of hard work.
Upon selling the shop in 1989, Paul worked as a real estate broker in Mooresville, where his hometown pride shown through. Long after his retirement, he delighted in giving his grandchildren “tours” of the town, pointing out various properties along the way. Once they were old enough to drive themselves to visit, Paul made sure his grandchildren never left the house without detailed directions on the best way for them to get safely back home.
Despite a busy schedule and a tireless work ethic, service was a priority. It was a way to show his love for God and his love for others. He dedicated his time to many organizations, including the Gideons, the Lion’s Club, the American Legion, and the Charlotte Jaycees. A natural leader with an infectious smile and magnetic personality, he was an active member of First Baptist Church, Mooresville, where he served as Stewardship Chairman, Nominating Committee Chairman, XYZ Senior’s Group President, Baptist Men’s Group President, Sunday School Director, Sunday School Teacher (children and adults), and Deacon.
He was also a civic leader, serving as a Precinct Chairman for many years, and as a Charter Member of the Iredell County Republican Men’s Club. His family will miss his excitement over Election Day returns, his generosity to numerous nonprofits, his joy in serving missions, but mostly, his love for Jesus that reflected all his choices throughout life.
Paul loved all people and he loved life. He leaves behind his legacy of service and of love to his family, including his wife of almost 66 years, Dorothy Jean Brannon Mills; his four children, Paula Mills Little (Gray) of Hickory, Leslie Mills Bruner (Jerry) of Laurinburg, Jennifer Mills Barnes (Eric) of Camden, S.C., and Paul Grey Mills Jr. of Mooresville (Jennifer); his brother, Lonnie E. Mills Jr. (“Mickey”); twelve grandchildren, Ben Little (Meg), Andy Little (Courtney), Owen Bruner, Clay Bruner, Scott Bruner, Chase Bruner, Abby Bruner, Zachary Barnes, Tiffany Barnes Massey (Derek), Alexandria Mills, Grey Mills III, and Grant Mills; and four great grandchildren, Rosalee Little, Eowyn Little, Noah Little, and Tucker Massey.
For those who favor a memorial contribution in lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to Wounded Shepherds Ministry, 6608 Yacht Place, Hickory, NC, 28601.