Patrick Gilbert Mills was born May 6, 1947 in Hoonah to Gilbert and Katherine Mills. He was a life-long resident of Hoonah. He passed away Jan. 24, 2011 at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, surrounded by family and friends.
Pat is a member of the T’akdeintaan clan and represented the clan at many ceremonies throughout Southeast. Pat was the house leader for the Kaa Shaayi Hit, Head House and is also from Tax’ Hit, Snail House. His Lingit name is Yiskeiwdus┐. Pat is Wooshkeetaan y┐di and Kaagwaantaan dachx┐n. He loved to dance and was a lively participant at memorial parties and Celebration. Pat was passionate about Lingit culture; he harvested and shared traditional foods, researched and documented family and Lingit history, and always took the time to share his knowledge with anyone interested, especially his younger family members. Pat spent a lot of time fishing and hunting and was generous, sharing his bounty with elders and other family members. He loved kah┐akw and often made jars of it to share with others.
Pat served in the U.S. Army from 1966 until 1968 as a member of the Signal Corps. He was stationed in Germany. After his discharge, he attended college, earning his associate’s degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
He lived a fisherman’s dream from birth. He first fished with his father and progressed through the ranks, starting as a bull cook and working his way up to a captain. He bought and operated his own fishing boat, the Mary Joanne.
Pat, his siblings, cousins and extended family spent every summer in Excursion Inlet, the traditional fishing and gathering site of the family. In 1976 he married the love of his life, Karen Singleton, in front of his grandparents’ cabin there in the middle of the village.
Pat is survived by his wife Karen S. Mills;, sisters Eleanor Moritz, Rosemary (Tom) Jimboy, Judy Mills, Kathy (John) Marvin; first cousins — considered and raised as sisters — Linda Belarde, Edna (Sam) Lamebull, and Daphne (Frank) Wright; brothers Tony, George, Tom, Mike, Chris, Stuart, and Jeff; adopted daughters Margaret and Carol Haube, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and many others who called him “Uncle Pat” and “Grandpa;” aunts Irene Lampe, Helen Sarabia, Marie Shodda and Theresa Howard; and uncle John Howard. He was preceded in death by his grandparents Mary Wilson Brown Sarabia, Paul Brown and Juan Sarabia and Albert and Emma Mills; his parents Katherine (Brown) and Gilbert Mills; brother Gilbert “Butch” Mills; sister Phyllis Mills Bean; aunts Sue Belarde and Margaret McKinley; and uncles Ed and Bobby Sarabia, Bill Lampe, and James McKinley.
Services were held Friday in Juneau and Saturday in Hoonah.