Jackie Lynn Mills, age 83, passed into the arms of Jesus on Saturday, August 13 at 3:50 AM surrounded by his family who loved and adored him. Jackie was born on September 24, 1939 to John Rankin Mills and Luna Marie Barnes Mills in Coleman, Texas. He was married to his childhood sweetheart from the 7th grade, Sherry Lynn Ray Mills on July 27, 1957. They just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary last month.
These words describe him like no other, as stated by his grandson, Corey Mills. “I want to thank everyone who prayed for my grandfather. You have no idea how much that means to me, and for my family. We love y’all so much . . . I kept thinking that he would live forever, because in my mind he was untouchable. This man was our soul provider . . . our protector . . . and our dad. He did everything he could do to take care of all of us, not one of us was forgotten. There were times his love was hard, and times his love was gentle. He only wanted all of us to live our life the way he did. He had a beautiful life, most men would want, he had a beautiful wife, most men couldn’t have, and he had a beautiful heart no man could take. But we knew his love . . . I love you Papaw. You taught me to be a man, to shake a man’s hand as hard as you could trust him, you taught me to work hard, and be stern against anyone that could get in the way. Papaw!! You were a fighter, that’s all I ever saw in you was a fighter!!!! I love you so much Papaw, and I’ll never forget the times we had.”
Jackie was a man of honor who loved his family fiercely. He loved spending time with his loved ones around the pool and traveling Texas to be with them. Sherry’s siblings considered him a brother, because he was in their lives since they were kids. His family never questioned his love for them. He made it very well known. He was always there for them for any life decisions that needed to be made, leading them in the right direction. He was also a wonderful boss to those who worked for him, and a great friend to those who met him and knew him. He always provided for his family with his impeccable work ethic.
Mr. Mills attended Texas Technological University in Lubbock, Texas and graduated from Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Mr. Mills was a banker for thirty years having begun his banking career as a check filer with Coleman County State Bank, Coleman, Texas in 1959. He rose to Assistant Vice-President, and in 1969, he was offered a position as Vice-President of Gonzales Bank. In addition to his duties as a lending officer, he served as the bank’s Security Officer, Trust Officer and Secretary to the Board of Directors.
In 1978, Mr. Mills became President of Buchel Bank and Trust Co. in Cuero, Texas, a position he held until 1983.
In 1983, Mr. Mills was approached by the Board of Directors of American National Bank (in organization) to complete the application process for American National Bank and become its President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Mills agreed and immediately began the process of completing the application process and opening a new bank. He was responsible for selling and issuing the stock, the construction of the building, buying all the necessary machinery and equipment, hiring the personnel, and opening the bank. On July 12, 1984, American National Bank officially opened for business. He left the bank in December 1991 and was an independent insurance agent specializing in life and health insurance until September of 2018. He spent 15 of those years in insurance working with close friend and business partner, Mike Davis.
Jack was active in all the communities in which he lived. He has served as an Election Judge, a Volunteer Fireman, Chairman of the United Fund, Easter Seals, and the March of Dimes. He was one of the original members of the Gonzales Volunteer Ambulance Corp, now known as the Gonzales County Emergency Service. He has served as an officer and director in the Chamber of Commerce in all the communities he lived. He was active in Little League serving in various capacities including President and Player Agent. He was a member of Lions International for thirty-five years, serving at most local officer levels including President. He has served on various industrial foundations, councils, and committees.
Mr. Mills accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior when he was a teenager. As an adult, he was a member of the First Baptist Church where he served the Church as a junior boys Sunday School teacher, chairman of the Men’s Fellowship, Assistant Church Treasurer, Church Treasurer, and served on various committees.
Jackie is survived by his wife, Sherry Lynn Ray Mills; sons Jeffrey Ray Mills (Cheryl) of Corpus Christi and Russell Corey Mills (Tammy) of Marion; daughter Leigh Michele Mills Dolezal (Mike) of Gonzales; brother Gary R. Mills (Sue) of Abilene; sisters-in-law Terry Bolton of Coleman; Kay DiBenedetto (Gerard) of Mansfield; Deborah Jahn of Anna; brother-in-law Mike Ray (Jamie) of Coleman and grandchildren Jeffrey Ray Mills, Jr. (Jocelyn) of Pearland; Russell Corey Mills, II of Lockhart; Amber Nicole Mills of Schaumberg, Illinois; Nissa Renea Mills Girouard (Mark) of Jarrell; Joycelyn Alexandra “Lexie” Dolezal Kridler (Trey) of New Braunfels; William Hunter Mills of Marion; Jacquelyn Abbigail “Abbie” Dolezal of Kerrville; Reagan Ford Mills (Jacky) of Seguin; Jamileigh Anabelle “Jamie” Dolezal of Gonzales; 12 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
The celebration of life will be on Saturday, August 20, 2022 at First Baptist Church, 422 St. Paul in Gonzales, Texas. Visitation will begin at 1:00 PM with the service following at 2:00 PM. Reverend Steve Faulkner, Reverend Josh Breslaw and Trey Kridler will officiate the service. Pallbearers will be Jeffrey Mills II, Corey Mills, Hunter Mills, Mark Girouard, Matthew DiBenedetto, Tim Owner, and Greg Mills. Honorary Pallbearers are brother Gary Mills, brothers-in-law Gerard DiBenedetto and Mike Ray, and business partner Mike Davis.
If friends and family would like to write a special anecdote or notable memory of Jack, we will have a basket to receive it at the visitation. This would be such a huge blessing to the family. Friends may also leave their condolences to the family by visiting www.seydlerhillfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church of Gonzales property fund. Services are under the care and direction of Seydler-Hill Funeral Home.