October 5, 1920 - June 7, 2015
BEE REID MILLS WAS A LITTLE WOMAN WITH A BIG HEART. Berrel (Bee) Lavone Reid (Mills) was born in an old farmhouse in Olney Springs, Colorado. She was actually born on October 4, 1920, but the country doctor, who arrived the next day, listed her birth date as October 5th on her birth certificate. The midwife who assisted in the delivery was named Berrel, so her parents gave her that unusual name. She was the fourth child in a family that would eventually grow to 11 children. When she was a toddler, she made a humming sound like a bee, and thus picked up the nickname of Bee ever after. Bees and beehives became her lifelong symbols. As a small child, she endured a number of serious illnesses such as diphtheria and whooping cough, which left her with a severe cleft palate. Only her immediate family could understand her when she spoke. When she was 4-years-old, her family moved to Stamford, Texas. Times were very hard for everyone. Jobs were scarce and money was tight. Most of the children in that part of Texas started each school year late in order to earn some money picking cotton. The Reid family was no different. Bee's wonderful mother had an enduring trust and faith in God and instilled those attributes in her children. She was the family anchor in those troubled times of poverty and depression. Bee had many perilous adventures growing up in rural Texas, and she loved to recount those experiences. She spoke of an epic battle with a copperhead snake which had her cornered in a shed, of dangling from a train trestle as the train crossed above her, of outwitting a cantankerous cow which tried to gore her, and of being attacked by hundreds of red ants while seated on school bleachers. Her childhood adventures could fill volumes. Despite her obvious speech impediment, Bee received great encouragement from her mother and various teachers and she excelled in academics. During the Great Depression, graduating from High School was not a high priority for many people. Bee, however, made it her first major life's goal and she succeeded in 1939. Graduating from high school in 1939 would be equivalent to earning a postgraduate degree today. In late 1941, her family decided to follow Rex, the oldest son, to Southern California. They made plans to leave Texas on December 8, 1941. The day before, Pearl Harbor had been bombed and friends and relatives came by the house begging the Reids not to go. They believed that California would be bombed by the Japanese. But they were undeterred. They left the dust and poverty of Texas behind them and started a new life in Reseda, California. Soon, her brother, Dean, was in the Marines, her brother, Kurt, in the Navy, and her sister, Ola, in the WAVES. Bee decided to enroll in a government program for women to learn welding and related skills. Upon finishing her training, she became one of the unsung heroes known as "Rosie the Riveter." She was hired by an airplane manufacturer in Long Beach. Because she was so short, she could fit easily in the narrow confines of the interior of B-17 bombers. Her job was to weld interior panels together. That job lasted almost a year - until the company's delivery quota had been met. She then began work at the sprawling Birmingham Army Hospital in Van Nuys as a messenger. There, an Army doctor took an interest in her cleft palate problem, and he arranged for a surgeon to repair it. Bee paid for the procedure with her own money, then began speech lessons. Because of her mother's deep, abiding faith in Jesus Christ which she passed on to her children, Bee developed a strong desire to find the true church. Growing up, her family had been religious, but not church-goers. She started visiting various churches in the Reseda area as often as she could. None of them adequately answered her questions or satisfied her needs. There were three things that she really wanted to know, “Where do we come from?” “Where do we go after this life?” and curiously, “Where do the American Indians come from?” It turns out that she had a friend - a neighbor - named Beverly Yeamon. The two young women rode the same bus together to Long Beach to the B-17 plant. Beverly was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bee had never heard of that church. Beverly then told her that it was also called "The Mormon Church." Bee had heard of the Mormons spoken of derisively in Texas - Brigham Young and his 12 wives. In any case, her interest was piqued and she decided to accept her friend's invitation to attend with her. As it turned out, during her very first Sacrament meeting, one speaker spoke on God's Plan of Happiness, and another speaker commented that we learn from The Book of Mormon that the American Indians are of the House of Israel. Both talks got her attention quickly and she knew then and there that this was what she was looking for. She was baptized in 1945 and her testimony in the Gospel of Jesus Christ never wavered the remaining 70 years of her life. She prayerfully raised her boys in the gospel, faithfully completed every calling and assignment asked of her, and lovingly served several Temple and Family History missions in her sunset years. Bee and Robert Martin Mills were neighbors in Reseda. They met when Robert was home on leave from the Army during World War II. They fell in love and married in 1947. Soon, Robert joined The LDS Church and began progressing in the Priesthood. Tragedy struck the couple with the death of their first child, Robert, when he was 3-days-old. Bee next miscarried twins. At last, Jamie was born, then 15 months later, Jerry. The two boys had lots of health problems, but Bee was determined that they were going to get through those problems and make something of their lives. With Bee's husband, however, things began to take a negative turn. Robert's service in the Korean War revived the long abandoned urge to consume alcohol, and he fell into a deep chasm from which he could not escape. Attempts by Bee, other family members, and bishops to help him were made in vain. Regretfully, in 1956, Bee finally accepted the fact that she would have to divorce Robert in order to protect her boys. She divorced Robert, but she never spoke ill of him and constantly declared that he was the only man that she ever loved. Robert died of alcohol-related illnesses in 1966. Bee never even considered remarrying. In 1974, she received permission from the prophet to be sealed for all eternity to Robert and her sons in the Los Angeles Temple. In the sealing room, Bee felt Robert's hands on her shoulders and his presence in the room was revealed to the officiator. She knew then without a doubt that she was taking the right course of action. Bee worked long hours as a pre-school teacher and raised her boys by herself, with lots of help from wonderful father figures like Jack Fetterman Sr., Alvin Miller, Stirling Robinson and many others. She was strict, but determined that her boys would graduate from High School, serve missions, and marry in the temple. No excuse would be tolerated. Bee succeeded in all three objectives. Most importantly, she taught her boys how to be valiant and faithful fathers. In 1976, Bee moved from Reseda to Spanish Fork, Utah and began earning a living with her own pre-school. She retired in 1985 and immersed herself in family history and temple work. She owned one of the first PC's marketed in the 1980's and learned how to use it for genealogical research. In her 90's, she became an aficionado of Facebook and e-mails. She refused to be technologically challenged. Bee's earthly sojourn ended on Sunday, June 7, 2015. She was just four months shy of 95-years-old, a long and fruitful life. She left this life with her two sons holding her hands. Her mortal pain and suffering are over and she is now embraced in the arms of our Savior. Bee, go in peace. You not only had an eternal influence on your sons, their wives, and children, but you also warmly touched the lives of hundreds of children, Boy Scouts, temple and family history coworkers, many friends, and numerous ancestors. A few years ago, Bee recounted a dream she had. Her son, Robert, had come to her and took her hand and escorted her through a thick veil. They entered a large banquet room filled with people wearing modes of clothing from different centuries. As soon as she entered, the chatter among them ceased and they all turned to her, stood up, and gave her a warm applause. It was made known to Bee that these were all the people whose genealogy she had researched and performed temple work. After that, the dream ended. May God be with you, dear mother, and with all of us, until we meet again. All our love, Jamie and Jerry, Mona and Marie, your grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and all your loving friends. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, June 11, 2015 at the Berg Drawing Room Chapel, 185 East Center Street, Provo, Utah. Friends may call one hour prior to services. Interment, Spanish Fork City Cemetery. Condolences may be extended to the family at www.bergmortuary.com.
BEE REID MILLS WAS A LITTLE WOMAN WITH A BIG HEART. Berrel (Bee) Lavone Reid (Mills) was born in an old farmhouse in Olney Springs, Colorado. She was actually born on October 4, 1920, but the country doctor, who arrived the next day, listed... View Obituary & Service Information
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BEE REID MILLS WAS A LITTLE WOMAN WITH A BIG HEART.
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