TRIBUTE TO DAD
SINCE IT'S BEEN 5 YEARS SINCE WE LOST HIM, ABOUT TIME I GET THIS WRITTEN!
Dad was born on the farm in New Providence, IA. It was a rough birth for Grandma Mimi, that's why he didn't have any siblings. Shortly after, Grandpa went against the wishes of his parents and moved the family to Muscatine. He was a mailman and a carpenter while Mimi taught school. He built the house they lived in - that Dad grew up. After high school, Dad attended William Penn College and later the University of Iowa law school. Being a Quaker, during WWII he did alternative service instead of going to war. He was in Indiana on a public works project when he got typhoid fever and nearly died. He came out of it with a blood clot in his leg that bothered him the rest of his life. He returned to Indiana and got a Masters degree in Accounting. Back in Iowa he went to work for a local man, Roy Carver of Carver Pump. He was the cost accountant. Maybe he shouldn't have left Roy -- who later became one of Iowa's richest men. Carver-Hawkeye arena in Iowa City is named after him! Not sure of all the timeframe, but Dad married his first wife, Carol McKee in Muscatine. They adopted my brother Shannon and shortly after my sister Deborah was born. The marriage didn't last long.
Later Dad moved to the Waterloo area. It was there he started with Professional Management, a consulting firm to the medical profession. It was there he met Mom who was a partner and assistant to the founder, Vern Nellis. After Ann & I came along, Mom left the firm. Dad was there for 30 years, the last 25 he was General Manager with partners throughout the midwest and southwest. In the late 1970s Dad retired from PMM. During those years, he was a leader in the field. He belong to the Society of Professional Business Consultants and was a president of the group. He was one of the first CPBCs, Certified Professional Business Consultant, in the country.
Dad's first post-retirement venture was selling real estate with Larry Winninger. Unfortunately timing was poor, Waterloo's economy was horrible with the highest unemployment in the country at the time. People were losing houses, not buying & selling. His co-workers did honor him with the Fellowship Award for all he did to help them.
Dad got back into consulting by opening Millard K. Mills & Company. Mom was the "& Company" part of it! They traveled the country working with Doctors as he did for his 30 years with PMM. One Doc flew them to Alaska twice. Nice semi-retirement. Dad gave up fully when moving to Indy in 1991.
Dad's health problems started with a mild heart attack in January 1989. As luck would have it, I got home for a visit in time to drive him to the ER. He was in the hospital 3 weeks undergoing a triple bypass during this period. After coming out of surgery, he suffered another mild heart attack. It must have scared the hospital, they called out to the church and had Father Bill come out just in case. He recovered quickly, less than a month later he was back in the air going to NYC to visit a client.
The folks moved to Indianapolis in April of 1991 to be grandparents. A family Doc here told them that Dad's heart was in bad shape. He needed to be very careful and carry his EKG along with him in case of problems. Sure. For years they traveled the globe with no problems! One thing was apparent as the 90s progressed: Dad's memory was going and he was getting confused. I read that this isn't uncommon after bypass surgery. This problem was never diagnosed nor any cause found but it was something that would make his life worse in the last couple years.
After Mom died in 1997, we talked him into moving in to Morningside, an assisted living apartment near me. He was reluctant at first but loved it once he got there. Upon arrival, he was in great shape and took advantage of all the activities & trips. Later in 1998 his physical health started getting poor. We noticed swelling in his legs which Doctors really didn't diagnose. I don't think they really care enough about the elderly. By the last week of 1998, he was having trouble breathing and was hospitalized. This is when the diagnosis was made of congestive heart failure. At this point, due to his mental and physical deterioration, we asked him to stop driving and he agreed. Never moved the car, never took the keys, just trusted him not to drive and he didn't. All children should be so lucky with their aging parents.
He continued to go downhill mentally & physically. He was checked for memory. Not Alzheimer's but no way to help the decline. His physical condition varied but mostly for the worse. I don't think the Doctors monitored him close enough. At one point, the Lasix he was taking was too strong and had him dehydrated. He was removed from it and not checked again. Over the July 4th weekend in 1999, he started coughing and couldn't eat. Ann took him to the ER and he was diagnosed with pneumonia. The Doctor warned us it doesn't look good. He died on July 6th 1999. We took him home to Waterloo to be with Mom.