Mary Odessa Fife Mills was born on Aug. 3, 1915, in Sweetwater, Texas, to Thomas Wylie Fife and Mary Etta Swearingin Fife. She was the only girl born in the middle of five brothers. She joined the love of her life, Joseph M. Mills, on Dec. 5, 2012. She had a full and joyful life.
Odessa was predeceased by her parents; her beloved husband, Joe; her grandson Aaron Donald Mills; her son-in-law, Steve Trulock; and by four of her brothers — Mack, Sam, JL, and Leroy Fife.
She is survived by her son, Joseph M. Mills Jr. (Carol) of Alvin, Texas, and daughter, Margaret Trulock. Her grandchildren are Jennifer Trulock (William Moore), Matthew Trulock (Jacque), Scott Trulock (Jennifer Sowders), Tom Mills, and Melissa Harding (Daniel). Her great-grandchildren are Cooper Moore, Garrett Moore, Kyle Trulock, Megan Trulock, Lauren Trulock, and Peter Harding. Her seventh great-grandchild will be born in the spring. She is also survived by her favorite nieces, Jean Austin and Dottie Franklin.
Odessa lived a full life spanning tremendous changes. She loved to travel, and twice went on months long trips around the world with Joe. Her favorite place was Italy.
She was a member of the Dallas Woman’s Club and Marianne Scruggs Garden Club, and she was a former member of Dallas Country Club and Mary Craig Class. She was president of the Architect Wives Club in the 1950s, but most enjoyed being with her family.
She was an excellent duplicate bridge player until she turned 90, decided she couldn’t remember the cards like she used to, and insisted on retiring from her bridge club.
Odessa graduated from Sunset High School in the depths of the Depression and went to work as an executive secretary. She worked for Leo Corrigan Sr. as a two-person office until her marriage on Nov. 8, 1941. She wanted to take drafting in high school, but was told it was only for the boys. Women were just as equal as men in her eyes, and she got to learn drafting and reading architectural plans when she married her architect, Joe. Together they were quite a team for 52 years.
Odessa was an excellent cook and hostess. She was an avid reader. Babies and dogs all gravitated to her warm and loving personality. She was a 60- year member of Central Christian Church. Faith in God was an important part of her life.
Thanks go to her caregivers, Eva Cano and Sandra Belman, who enabled her to stay at home with Margaret until she was 95. Thanks also to the staff of Monticello West for their loving care for the past two years.
Services were held Saturday, Dec. 8, at Sparkman-Hillcrest. Mrs. Mills laid in state Friday Dec. 7, 2012, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Charitable donations can be sent to the Dallas SPCA or Central Christian Church.