Donald Thurston Mills, 86

Donald Thurston Mills, 86, died peacefully on August 13, 2018, with his family and awesome staff of Ulery 3 Iowa Veterans Home by his side. There will be a celebration of Don’s life for family and friends to be held 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday, September 1, 2018, at Calvin Rockett Bar and Grill, upstairs. Come socialize with family and friends and bring a fond memory to share. Anderson Funeral Homes in Marshalltown is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to

Don was born on January 28, 1932, in Redfield, Iowa, to Ella Francis Shaw and R.C. Mills. He grew up in Redfield one of six siblings. He was the youngest boy in his family. Don graduated high school in 1950 and shortly after that, entered the United States Air Force. He served from 1951 to 1956. Don obtained the rank of E-5. He served in England where he met and married Leslie Waters in 1955. Following the Air Force, they made their home in Des Moines, IA, where Don received his B.S. in Education from Drake University. Also at that time, he entered the Air reserve where he obtained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. Later they moved to Marshalltown, and had four children. They were married for 18 years and divorced in 1973. Don taught school from 1959 to 1992. He taught 5th and 6th grade at Anson Elementary. Don’s students may remember his passion for teaching and his occasional eraser toss. He served two terms in the 1980’s as the 2nd ward councilman for Marshalltown. Don enjoyed local politics and his friendships made during that time period. Following his retirement from teaching, Don lived twenty years in Texas, enjoying warm weather and hobbies related to outdoor life and environmental science. He later returned to Marshalltown to be close to family. Prior to moving into the Iowa Veterans Home in March of this year, Don lived several happy years at The Embers in Marshalltown. Upon death, it was Don’s wishes to have his body donated to the University of Iowa Hospital for further education and study. Don was still the teacher to the end.

Don is survived by his four children: Kim (Doug) Hanken, of Marshalltown, Julie (Jeff) Miller, of Marshalltown, Matt Mills, of Marshalltown, and Mike Mills, of Cedar Rapids, IA; stepdaughter Lara Stauffer from a second marriage, of Green Bay, WI; five grandchildren, three great grandchildren, brother John Mills, of Des Moines and many nieces and nephews.

He is also survived by his special friends Rick and Nancy Ahn, of Marshalltown.