Nita C. Mills of Stanfield, Oregon, was born on April 8, 1929, in Portland, Oregon, to parents Ivan and Helen Finney Kerr. She died on January 13, 2019, in Yuma, Arizona, at the age of 89 years.

Nita was raised and attended schools across the United States. She never spent more than one school year at any location until her sophomore year of high school. Nita graduated as the Columbia High School valedictorian for the class of 1947.

She then went to work for General Electric at Hanford in the engineering department. Nita was united in marriage Don Mills on August 8, 1948, in Pasco, Washington. They lived in Wallula, Washington, before they moved to Stanfield, Oregon, in 1950 where she cooked on a wood stove.

There were no bridges at that time so she quit her job at Hanford and worked on the farm. She raised bummer lambs, ran the hoeing crew for both the mint and sugar beet fields, banded cement pipe, and held a CDL — driving truck during the mint and sugar beet harvest. Nita also made lunch for two crews every day during harvest, was the farm bookkeeper (balanced to the penny) and somehow made time to sing at many weddings and funerals over the years.

They retired in 1992 and have enjoyed snow-birding in Yuma, Arizona, since. She was an avid reader, enjoyed watching musicals and movies, and going to sales, as well as dancing and listening to music. Nita loved to travel all over the world and never experienced jet lag, always ready and raring to go. She was a longtime member of the Hope Presbyterian Church in Stanfield, Ore.

She is survived by her husband of 70 years, Don Mills, Stanfield, Ore.; sons Monte (Jan) Mills, Stanfield, Ore., Dan (June) Mills, Echo, Ore., and Marvin (Kim) Mills, Stanfield, Ore.; daughter Marla (Steve) Wilkie, Rainier, Ore.; sister Margo (Mike) McGuire, Moxee, Wash.; grandchildren John, Erin, Tracy, Chrissy, Klint, Kyle, Marcus, Nicole, Levi, Heather and Zach; 16 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Nita was preceded in death by her parents, and an infant brother.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. at Faith Presbyterian Church, 1005 S.E. Ninth St., Hermiston, Oregon.

In lieu of flowers please make contributions in Nita’s memory to the Stanfield FFA Alumni or the Stanfield Library, c/o Burns Mortuary of Hermiston, P.O. Box 289, Hermiston, OR 97838.

Please leave online condolences for Nita’s family at

Burns Mortuary of Hermiston, Oregon, is in care of arrangements.

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