MILLS: Mary Elizabeth “Betty” of Paisley

“Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful!’ and sitting in the shade.”

Rudyard Kipling

Cropped Betty MillsMary Elizabeth “Betty” Mills knew the definition of hard work and also knew the joy of vegetable gardens and farming. Betty was born in Walkerton on December 9, 1937 in the midst of a snow storm that kept her dad from seeing her for the first week of her life. She grew up on the Brant-Greenock Line in a homestead that had been settled by her ancestors in 1862. She attended public school in Ellengowan, then started high school in Paisley and finished off in Walkerton. Wanting to be a nurse, Betty appeased her mother, who wanted her to be a teacher, by attending Normal School in Stratford for a couple of years. In the end, Betty taught for less than a year.

Being that their mothers were friends, Betty and Bob Mills courted and four years and one day later they married, July 5, 1958 on Betty’s family farm. She then moved in with Bob and his half built home in Elderslie. Together they completed their home, farmed and built their plumbing, fabricating and electrical business with long hours and hard work over the years. If the truth be told, Betty wasn’t much of a cook when she first married. However, under the fine tutelage of Bob’s mother, Margaret, Betty grew to be an excellent cook!

Up early and to bed late was Betty’s way of moving through the day. This way she was able to deftly care for her numerous big vegetable gardens, variety of farm animals, and myriad of cats. At least once a day, and as recently as Wednesday, both Bob and Betty went to the farm together to check to make sure everything was all right.

It’s always a good practice when living on a farm,

To have a family of cats living in the barn

They always keep the rats and mice at bay and furnish humor too –

Wherever you find kittens there’s usually a laugh or two.

John Posey

Without a doubt, Betty loved her cats. There were always cats around the farm, in the shop, and of course there was that special one, Suzie, who lived in their home. Fed from an eye dropper at birth, Suzie has lived with Bob and Betty for many years.

Betty enjoyed working with her hands and was known for her Copper Craft art. She also liked travelling, especially her fun-filled day trips. Betty and Bob even ventured to the Yukon in the 70’s for a month of travelling and adventure on their own.

Sadly and without warning, Betty’s journey ended at home on Thursday, January 21, 2016 in her 79th year.

She leaves behind her husband and best friend Bob. Betty will be remembered by her long time pen-pal Diana from England that she has corresponded with through mail and by phone since the age of six.

Betty was predeceased by her parents, Leslie and Jean (Bradshaw) Dalgarno and her in-laws, Sydney and Margaret Mills.

Bob will receive friends at Knox United Church, Paisley (399 Goldie Street) on Monday, January 25, 2016 beginning at 1 p.m., with a celebration of Betty’s life to follow at 2 p.m. Ann Maycock celebrant. Spring interment in Douglas Hill Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are in the care of Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley.

In honour of Betty, memorial donations to the Heart and Stoke Foundation or the Canadian Diabetes Association would be appreciated.

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