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The Rev. Joseph M. Mills, Owensboro, passed away at the Carmel Home on Saturday, April 4, 2020. He was 92 years old.
Fr. Mills, son of the late L.K. and Helen Mills, was born in Owensboro on September 6, 1927. He attended St. Francis Academy for nine years, prior to entering the minor seminary at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana in 1942, where he studied for four years.
Fr. Mills continued his studies at the Theological College at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., until his ordination by Bishop Francis R. Cotton at St. Stephen Cathedral in Owensboro on May 26, 1953. He served as assistant pastor at St. Agnes Parish, Uniontown, and was then sent to Rome to pursue studies in canon law. Returning to Owensboro in 1961, Bishop Henry Soenneker assigned Fr. Mills to Brescia College where he taught theology for 12 years. In 1973 he was transferred to Holy Spirit Parish in Bowling Green where he served as pastor for nine years. Following a brief pastorate at Precious Blood Parish, Bishop John McRaith appointed him judicial vicar in 1983 and moved him to St. Anthony Parish, Browns Valley, as pastor. In 1992, Bishop McRaith appointed him vicar general, a post he held for nine years. In 1989, he became pastor of St. Martin Parish, Rome. After 11 years, Fr. Mills became chaplain to the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph in Maple Mount. Upon his retirement on January 1, 2004, Fr. Mills continued to minister to the Ursuline Sisters at the Mount.
Besides his multiple years as a pastor, Fr. Mills served on the Priests’ Council, the Priest Personnel Committee, and the Diocesan Review Board. He worked with Cursillo, the charismatic renewal, RENEW, Marriage Encounter, Jesus Caritas, and the Serra Club as chaplain. He was a member of the Board of Overseers at St. Meinrad, as well as a board member of the Alumni Association at St. Meinrad. He was a member of the Brescia University Board of Trustees, an Ursuline Associate, and a Passionist Oblate. Fr. Mills was a member of the Canon Law Society of America since he assumed the role of judicial vicar. Besides his seminary training, and his studies in Rome, Fr. Mills attended Loyola University, and did a sabbatical at Notre Dame University.
He was preceded in death by his siblings Randall; Kay; Sister Miriam Ann, CP; and Mollie. He is survived by his brothers Jack and Bill, as well as several nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews.
In compliance with health and public safety directives, private funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Stephen Cathedral in Owensboro on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 11 a.m. Central Time. This Mass will be livestreamed at www.facebook.com/ststephencathedral/live. A public memorial Mass will be held at a later date.
Interment is at Resurrection Cemetery, Owensboro. Expressions of sympathy in memory of Fr. Mills may be made to the Retired Priests Fund, 600 Locust St. Owensboro, KY, 42301.