Margaret "Margy" Mills of Wallback died January 10, 2018, at her son's home in Delray Beach, Florida, after a long struggle with cancer.|
There was no obituary published at that time; the following is the 1-year memorial of her death and a celebration of her life.
Margy was born February 3, 1941, in Newark, New Jersey, the second of four children born to William Bruce Earl and Margaret Lander. She grew up in Summit, New Jersey, and in the mid-1960s, she graduated with a degree in chemistry from Caldwell College. After working for a time in a Red Cross blood bank, she began several years of traveling across Europe and around the Mediterranean. She worked at the Max Planck Institute in Munich, Germany, and Innsbruck, Austria; visited with an aunt and uncle in France; cut hair in a barbershop in Rome; adventured into Istanbul; and experienced life on a kibbutz in Israel.
Returning to New Jersey in early 1970, she went to work in a state family services program and shortly afterward met Thomas Mills, whom she married in 1972. After two sons were born, Margy and Tom began looking for a place where Tom could work as an engineer but their home would be in the country. They found that place in Wallback, moving to West Virginia in the summer of 1974; Tom went to work for Dupont and then taught engineering at West Virginia Tech. In 1977, he died of cancer, but Margy decided to stay on the farm.
Over the years, she developed many projects. She raised sheep and dairy goats. She planted a quarter acre of strawberries and dozens of blueberry bushes. She always raised an ambitious garden, trying out new (and old) varieties of tomatoes and peppers, dueling with the deer, and vying to produce the biggest pumpkin yet. Timber-stand improvement was a passion, a long-term investment in the land. Her concern for the land led to service on the local Soil Conservation District board and the county Solid Waste Authority. She loved to get out in the woods; morel season was a magic time of year, when spring exploded underfoot and that dream patch of mushrooms was always just a little higher up the mountain.
In the 1980s, a friend taught Margy to spin, and she went on to develop her own yarn business. After experiencing the difficulties of shearing her own sheep, cleaning the wool, etc., she turned instead to knitting and to creating custom yarns. She could provide specific fibers and colors on demand, drawing on her old chemistry skills to match colors as needed. She developed her own knitting patterns and sold some of them to craft magazines. She had a booth at many craft fairs and grew a national base of customers.
Margy's house was always open to a broad array of friends and family, who enjoyed her good cooking and her inspired baking and basked in the congenial company on her back porch. She is survived by her sons Tom and Jim, who gave her great joy and pride in their accomplishments; her grandchildren Luke, Hannah, and Charley; her brother Bill Earl; her sisters Nicki Coyle and Virginia DeCesare; nieces and nephews and their children; her faithful dog Tipper; and many, many friends. She is greatly missed by all.