Baltic, SD
April 24, 2024
Gloria Jean Mills was born on September 5, 1948, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Marilyn Jean (nee Otterby) and Cortland Duane Johnson. She was raised in rural Baltic, South Dakota on the Marico Angus farm operated by her parents. Her maternal and paternal grandparents lived nearby and greatly influenced her.
Gloria graduated from Baltic High School in 1966, and then matriculated to South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, graduating in 1970. During her freshman year at SDSU she met her future husband David Mills in a biology lab. They were married at West Nidaros Lutheran Church in Crooks, SD on August 2, 1969, and remained married for over 51 years until David’s death in 2021.
After her college graduation, she moved to Alabama with David where he studied veterinary medicine. She worked as a nursing instructor and registered nurse in Obstetrics/Gynecology at the Tuskegee Institute School of Nursing and Hospital.
In 1974, they moved to Lodi, Wisconsin where David began practicing veterinary medicine. In 1977, they moved to Sheboygan, Wisconsin and eventually settled in Cleveland, Wisconsin in 1981 where they had built a new home and David opened his own veterinary medicine practice. Gloria stepped away from her nursing career to stay at home and raise their four children, while also acting as her husband’s veterinary office manager.
After their children graduated high school, Gloria and her husband returned to her roots in South Dakota to retire. She spent much of her time diving deep into genealogy and her family’s history and made some remarkable discoveries. She loved all things associated with her Nordic heritage and took great pride in sharing her family history with others.
Gloria courageously battled colon cancer for over two years. She succumbed to the disease on April 24th at Madison Regional Health System in Madison, SD, at the age of 75.
Gloria is survived by her children, Matthew (April) and their children Helen, Theodore, Alice, and Henry of Ellensburg, WA; Cortney (Allison) and their children Clara and Hudson of Pembroke Pines, FL; Amanda of Los Gatos, CA; and Alexander of Colton, SD. She is also survived by three siblings, Linda (Wayne) Larson of Baltic, SD; Kent (Cindy) Johnson of Baltic, SD; and Wyn (Char) Johnson of Baltic, SD, and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents Marilyn and Cortland Johnson, her brother Craig Johnson, and her nephews Ryan Larson and Randy Larson.
Memorial services were held on Friday, May 3 at Minnehaha Funeral Home, Dell Rapids, SD. Interment was in the West Nidaros Lutheran Cemetery following the funeral service. www.minnehahafuneralhome.com