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|Subject: John B. Mills III, 69, 'was just a pleasure to be around'|
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Date Posted: July 18, 2008 4:07:07 EDT
My mother in law sent me to this page. She knew Prof Mills from her time at Emory. I don't have the password to the other board but have requested one.
By KAY POWELL
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 07/18/08
As a young Emory University professor, Dr. John B. Mills III wrapped his office round and round with a strip of paper that represented the human growth hormone.
He was part of the research team working to sequence HGH, to figure out the order of molecules in the protein chains so it could be synthesized.
Every time the researchers discovered a new amino acid, Dr. Mills marked it on the paper strand that looped his office.
"Now it's all automated. Back in those days, it was an art," said his colleague Dr. Jack Kinkade of Decatur. In fact, the team used many techniques Dr. Mills had learned in 1966 while studying on a postdoctoral fellowship at Kings College in Cambridge, England.
Dr. Mills was best known for his teaching of biochemistry in Emory's School of Medicine, Dr. Kinkade said. He retired about eight years ago.
"His students loved him," he said. "He had a real dry wit and was one of those people who could tell a story like no one. He just had this relaxed demeanor and would tell jokes. That was more in vogue when we were younger and lectures were chalk talks, not power points.
"He knew his subject, and he was genuinely interested in his students."
The memorial service for Dr. Mills, 69, of Atlanta is at 3 p.m. July 30 at Glen Memorial United Methodist Church. He died of liver and kidney failure Saturday at Wesley Woods. The body was cremated. A.S. Turner & Sons is in charge of arrangements.
Dr. Mills' interests, outside science, ranged from the Civil War to singing to storytelling. "He could put a story together and just tickle you to pieces," said his wife, Cantey Mills.
He relaxed dove hunting, loved a good gun and pressed his own bullets, she said. He was a choir and glee club singer and took up photography when his son did.
"He showed me, by the way, the first Web site I saw on the earliest Web browser, Mosaic," said his son, John Mills IV of Decatur, who runs Emory's Web site today. "He was kind of the computer nerd around his office."
Dr. Mills, who took photography vacations, stopped at any Civil War site.
He could look over a battlefield, detail every skirmish, point out where key soldiers were positioned and make it all an engaging story, Mrs. Mills said.
"That was his big thing," Dr. Kinkade said, "though he made it clear to me, a Northerner, that it was the War of Northern Aggression."
Dr. Mills loved Southern humor and was a member of an online bubba network that pokes fun at all things Southern, his son said. "He loved language humor, especially puns. He always said a pun was the lowest form of humor, unless you thought of it yourself."
Socially and professionally, Dr. Kinkade said, Dr. Mills was a loyal, trustworthy and reliable friend, as well as an enjoyable hunting buddy and storyteller.
"He was the quintessential Southern raconteur," Dr. Kinkade said. "John was very funny. He had a quick mind and an incredible wit. He could make a story out of a vignette of something. What would be a factoid to anyone else, he made into a story.
"He was just a pleasure to be around."
Survivors other than his wife and son include a daughter, Susan Jewell of Chattanooga, and three granddaughters.
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