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Madeline Helene Merrill Mills

June 16, 1916 – July 24, 2004

Co-Author of the Three SGS Publications Passes Away

SGS Newsletter of August 2004

Madeline Helene Merrill Mills

If you own a copy of one of the three SGS books that trace the first seven generations of Seeleys from Robert (SGS 1) and Obadiah (SGS 2), or if you have been a member of SGS at anytime in the past 20 years, you probably know the name Madeline Mills. It is with great sadness that SGS brings you news of her passing. Madeline passed away peacefully at LDS Hospital surrounded by her family July 24, 2004. She was 88 years old.

Born in Salt Lake City to Albert and Zella Seely Merrill June 16, 1916, Madeline was the fifth of seven children. She married Alanson Soper Mills Dec. 27, 1937 and they were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple Sept. 8, 1955. Al and Madeline were lifelong sweethearts, enjoying 66 years of togetherness in preparation for eternity. They were inseparable and he will miss her dearly. Madeline was also a devoted mother and grandmother who was so supportive she attended every family event possible.

Madeline valued education and was an avid learner. She worked as a secretary in the University of Utah’s Graduate School of Social Work for 16 years. She traveled the world. She enjoyed entertaining and was an accomplished seamstress and a willing volunteer. Madeline was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had a deep-felt faith that blessed her life and the lives of her family. She served in many capacities and, with Al, worked for nine years in the Salt Lake Temple. Together they filled a mission in New York City from 1979 to 1980. She was a great example to everyone around her. She loved God and was always grateful for life’s blessings.

Her family and we in SGS remember Madeline for her passion for genealogy. For her, it was a way to honor her pioneer ancestors. In fact, she was a Daughter of the Utah Pioneers and, ironically, passed away on the day Utah recognizes as Pioneer Day — commemorating the founding of Salt Lake City by Brigham Young. With the help of her daughter, SGS Vice President Kathie Olsen, Madeline compiled the Sixth and Seventh Generation books and updated the book covering the first six generations.

“It was at the reunion in Connecticut that I asked Madeline to assume the position of Genealogist,” said former SGS President Marshall Seelye. “She readily accepted. I’m sure she had no idea how great a task I had asked her to tackle because I also told her that the membership had been promised a sixth generation book for more than 10 years, and she, as SGS Genealogist, should make its publication a priority. Not only did she do it, she did it while keeping up with other tasks including prompt replies to queries. Madeline enlisted Kathie’s help and the work was accomplished along with corrections to earlier publications, not to mention the awesome job she did on the Seventh Generation book. I will miss her and never forget her commitment to SGS.”

For the members of SGS, Madeline’s work will remain an important part of our continuing research and is obviously appreciated – we share her interest in genealogy. But she passed on to her children and grandchildren her interest in family. “I love you Grandma and miss you terribly already,” wrote Madeline’s Granddaughter Michelle Olsen on July 26 in the electronic guest book for Madeline on the website of the Deseret Morning News. “Thank you for your energy, your love, your wisdom, your determination, your hugs (and even those big wet kisses), your laugh, and your sweet presence. Thank you, Grandma, for the Book of Remembrance you prepared for us, tracing back our family history, generation after generation. You did this the hard way: without computers, through years of patient work. You have honored your ancestors and blessed your posterity. I love you Grandma!”

Madeline will be lovingly remembered by her husband, Al; their children and spouses, David and Lana Mills, Lynda and Mark Simmons, Kathie and the late David Olsen, Margaret and Ken Petersen, and John and Barbara Mills; 21 grandchildren; 39 greatgrandchildren; and countless other family and friends. Funeral services were held Wednesday, July 28, 2004, followed by interment at the Salt Lake City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to your favorite charity.

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