Nelle Young Mills
(13 Nov 1924– 23 Nov 2022)
Nelle Young Mills, 98, completed her journey and slipped out of this life November 23, 2022, at The Laurels of Summit Ridge, where she resided for the past four and a half years. A lifelong resident of Buncombe County, she was the daughter of William Gay and Margaret Wilson Young, from whom she inherited her amazing musical talent, and a quick smile and pleasant disposition that remained with her until her final day.
A summa cum laude graduate of Mars Hill College, she was a professional accountant and worked for many years for Harrison Publishing Company in Asheville.
In 1941, she met Charles Mills while performing with her accordion on his local radio program. Nine years her senior, he went to war never having asked her out. In 1947, they reunited and married, living a wonderful life together until his death in 2001. He always said he couldn’t believe his luck, that he married the sweetest girl in the county.
In addition to her husband and parents, Nelle was predeceased by her sister, Lillian Chandler; brother; William Young; and her twin sons, Kevin and Keith, who died at birth in 1959.
She is survived by her only child, Marlisa Mills, of Black Mountain; her granddaughter, Kristen Mumpower Carter (RJ,); two adult great-grandchildren, Addison Childers (Audra) and Hailey Lewis (Michael); and five great-great-grandchildren, Mackenzie, Tinsley, Baileigh, Harper, and Serenity. She said she never planned to produce a dynasty, but her family was her great love. Although she couldn’t retrieve their names at the end, she never forgot her happiness at their mere existence.
She also leaves behind three nieces and two nephews, and the memory of a beloved niece who died in 2001 of breast cancer, which she herself survived in 1971. She collected a legion of friends, most of whom have gone before her. Her talent for creating a soft and beautiful life was well known to everyone who loved her.
Nelle grew up and married in First Baptist Church of Asheville, and was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church for 74 years, 65 of which were spent playing the piano for the Sprinkle Class. She played at the nursing home until COVID and lack of long term care creativity shut down the music. On the day she died, many staff and residents reported that her final, and only, complaint was that the facility piano was out of tune.
We would like to thank the staff of CarePartners Hospice for their kindness and care of Nelle over her last days. One of her final requests was we remember to thank her nursing home family, especially the aide who called her “Nellie” and couldn’t understand that she added the final “e” in college, pretending she was from Paris. We also thank Hazel and Alice for being such fascinating roommates. When she forgot the names of her family members, everyone became “Hazel.” We hope they unite in the afterlife and continue their hilarious reparte. And share dark chocolate. In the day before her death, Alice said, “Nelle was my best friend. We would have had good conversations if either of us could have been able to hear.”
Groce Funeral Home is arranging her final journey. Due to the return of Covid and the prevalence of flu, a memorial service will be postponed until warmer weather. Until such time we can celebrate her together, we wish her luck and love, and the knowledge that we are eternally grateful to have been chosen as her descendants. We will try to live half as well.
One of Nelle’s final comments, in the midst of extreme confusion, was this: “I hope I did this graciously. Now let’s move on. Don’t let worry about this odd situation ruin the remainder of your life.”
In lieu of flowers, and in honor of her amazing courage, please mail a card to a random nursing home patient. That small act would make her smile.