Obituary: Glenna Baxter Mills

Posted at 3:14 PM, Feb 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-10 11:28:38-04

Glenna Mills was granted her final wishes to say goodbye to her children and complete her life’s work at her home in Bozeman, Montana before she passed away on February 3, 2018, at the age of 83.  She is survived by her daughter, Jennifer Mills (Sacramento, CA); son, Bill Mills (Bozeman); grandsons, Colin Mills (Washington, DC) and Justin Mills (Bozeman); cousin, Marilyn Hassler (Mariposa, CA); and sister-in-law’s, Jane Sheldon and Jan Hamilton (Mariposa).  Glenna is preceded in Heaven by her parents, Glenn Baxter and Julia Grassmoen Baxter, and grandson Connor Mills.

She enjoyed a complete life that can be described in three phases – Ranch, City, Mountains.  Born in the San Joaquin Valley of California in 1934, she was the only child to a rancher and a nurse.  Her childhood is filled with fond memories or raising sheep on an 88-acre cattle ranch, participating in 4-H and church activities and spending summers at a campsite with her mother in Yosemite.  Glenna kept in touch with her classmates of Le Grand high school where she is remembered for being the class of ‘52 valedictorian and member of the tennis team and various clubs.  One of her fondest high school memories was the train ride for the class trip to San Francisco chaperoned by the odd Mrs. Moose and the Geary’s who had their hands full because they had no experience raising children.

Glenna attended Stanford University and earned a bachelor’s degree from the School of Nursing in 1957.  Legacy stories from her time on the farm include freshman year at Robie Hall; sophomore year at Lathrop on fraternity row; her first cinch notice in Western Civ; rotations in the diet kitchen, Kellog’s daycare and night shifts at Highland; and treating terminal polio patients and the iron lung machine.  The highlight of her college years have always been the life-long friendships established with Margaret “MG” Thumb and Dorothy Swank.  Upon graduation, she married Dr. William Mills and lived in Ann Arbor and San Antonio before settling in Oakland, and later Orinda, CA.

She had three nursing careers starting with the post-op unit at the University of Michigan Hospital.  Upon return to California, she worked as a Public Health Nurse for the San Mateo County Health Department and 19 years at a private nonprofit home health agency where she served as Director of Patient Care Services over 21 branch offices in Northern California.  In 1989, Glenna co-founded Mills Pollin & Associates to provide federal and state regulatory compliance consultation to home health agencies across the west coast.  Glenna retired in 2006 and was awarded a lifetime achievement acknowledgment letter from the CA State Board of Nursing.

Glenna is most proud of her accomplishment to raise two children who have developed into successful professionals and started their own families.  Raising children in the era of the 70’s and 80’s was not kind to a single-working parent.  Despite these obstacles, she was always there, taking time off work to be home with sick kids, witness school events, and travel for sporting events, often being the only parent volunteer to drive a bunch of kids to out of town games.  She never missed a game! Literally, except for one football game (1989 UCD v. Northridge in Los Angeles), for over 10 years, she never missed a game.  This commitment to family-first is her greatest legacy.

In 2008, after ten years of negotiation with her son, Glenna was ready to relocate to “The Last Best Place” to be with her family in Bozeman.  About a year later, she confided to her son that moving to Bozeman was the best decision she ever made.  She adored this community, participating in seasonal festivals and was a loyal fan, regularly cheering on her grandchildren at football, basketball, baseball and soccer games.  Glenna resided with her cat Sophie at the independent living retirement community of Aspen Pointe where she was active in the many offerings on campus including serving on the resident advisory council and teaching and competing in bridge with her favorite partner Katie.  Glenna was always grateful to be surrounded by so many high-quality residents and staff at Aspen Pointe.

Glenna was well-traveled and experienced the world with her family and dear friends on numerous cruises and other journeys to destination locations.  Glenna will be remembered for her loyalty and generosity to support her family and others in need.

Private services will be held at Aspen Pointe on February 13.  Memorials may be directed to Glenna’s favorite organizations: Bozeman Schools Foundation; Heart of the Valley (Animal Shelter); Stanford School of Nursing; and Le Grand, CA United Methodist Church.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.