In Loving Memory of Kenneth W. Mills

June 22, 1942
Portland, ME
April 03, 2020
Bridgeport, CT
Funeral Home

Spear-Miller Funeral Home

39 South Benson Road,
Fairfield CT US 06824

Service

A celebration of Ken's Life will be held at First Church Congregational following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

Cemetery

Family Gathering

Charity



Kenneth W. Mills

Kenneth W Mills, age 77, of Bridgeport, CT, died peacefully in his sleep on April 3, 2020. Ken
was born June 22, 1942 in Portland, Maine to Walter and Rose Mills. Ken was the youngest of
two children (older sister, Barbara), and the last surviving member of his family. He was also
predeceased in 2010 by his loving companion of 41 years, fellow teacher, Claire Martin. As a
young man, Ken traveled broadly, and developed diverse interests in transatlantic ocean liners,
Brazilian jazz music, and social justice. A fierce intellect, Ken earned multiple degrees in English
and Education from The University of Maine and Fairfield University, and found his calling as a
teacher of writing, for nearly fifty years at Roger Ludlowe High School, Fairfield High School,
and at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. As a high school teacher, Ken pioneered an
elective writing course in Satire that has remained one of the most popular English courses in
Fairfield for decades, and has consistently engaged students in critical awareness of
contemporary issues. In the classroom, he had a charismatic candor, and kept students
engaged not only with his sharp wit, but with his deeply genuine concern for their personal
voices and larger well being. Ken formed countless lasting relationships with his students over
the years, and was particularly proud of being able to help at-risk students find stability and
success through some of the stormiest years of their lives. His mentorship transcended the
classroom, and he often built life-long relationships with students and their families. Many of his
closest friends, who have become an extended family to him, are former students. Ken also
volunteered his time for many years at Operation Hope in Fairfield and served as a long-time
board member for The Regency condominium association, in Bridgeport. He loved conversation
over a fine meal, and had a true knack for cutting to the chase and addressing problems frankly
with his signature charming wit. Ken maintained a large, eclectic network of important
relationships, and he will be fondly remembered as a loyal and loving friend. Any offerings in
Ken’s memory should be made to Operation Hope of Fairfield. A celebration of Ken’s life will be held at a later date at First Church Congregational in Fairfield. For information or to offer an online condolence please visit www.SpearFuneralHome.com


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26 Guestbook Entries for Kenneth W. Mills

  1. Ken was not only a colleague but became one of my best friends. We could talk about anything and I knew he would listen and not judge. I will truly miss him and all of our laughs, tears, dinners, holidays, conversations, and mostly love. I love you Ken and miss you so much already. You are at peace and that brings some comfort to me. You always have a special place in my heart.

  2. You were a true one of a kind and friend when many needed one. Thanks for your humour, wit, kindness and treating us as adults, many for the first time. You were a huge asset in this world and will be sorely missed. RIP Mr Mills.

  3. Ken was one of my favorite teachers while at Ludlowe. Thank you for your passion for teaching and passing on the love of the English language. He touched more lives than just the ones he taught firsthand in the classroom.

  4. Mr. Mills was a great teacher and made an impact on the lives of many people. I am sorry to hear of his passing. My prayers go out to his family.

  5. Ken was truly a giant and an inspiration to staff and students alike for decades. I was privileged to know Ken while teaching at Fairfield High School. My husband , Charlie, had Ken in one of his early Satire classes at RLHS.
    Ken was sincerely interested in everyone’s “story” and always invested himself and his time, effort, and genuine concern for those he came into contact with. His smile was infectious; his humor contagious and his candor courageous. Thank you for all you did to enrich the lives of others!
    Signe

  6. Mr Mills was an incredible teacher. One of the greatest educators I’ve ever had. He impacted me greatly. RIP.

  7. So sorry to hear of Mr. Mills’ passing. I was a student in his satire class, and to this day, I think back on it quite often. His course was such beautiful way to develop a certain aspect of intelligence, what you might call the music of the left brain. I will continue think of him every time I see a Letterman Top Ten list book. – John Mayer

  8. He was one of my favorite teachers, he somehow got ahold of my poetry and made me read it in front of the class which not only embarrassed me but made me proud that he admired it. He made extra time at the end of his day to help me at his home to help me prepare for my SAT’s and after we would sit on his couch and watch what would become one of my favorite shows…..Magnum P.I. …..RIP sir, mentor and friend….

  9. You are now with your beloved Claire, Ken. May you Rest In Peace together. Joe and I will remember your quick wit and have fond memories of times spent with you.

  10. I would like to express my condolences to friends, family and all who mourn the loss of Mr. Mills. He was a teacher in the truest sense of the word. Both of my sons were his students. He visited one of my sons in the hospital and called my younger son over the years to see how he was doing. He was a remarkable man, who deeply cared about his students and their emotional well being. His was a life well lived. Rest in peace, Mr. Mills. Thank you for all of your kindness.

  11. He was an amazing man and a teacher that left a life long impression on me. Thank you for everything Mr. Mills!!

  12. RIP Mr. Mills and my condolences to the family. He was my absolute favorite teacher to this day and I’ll never forget his quick wit, humor and genuine kindness to all he encountered.

  13. Very sorry to hear of Mr Mills passing. His satire class was my favorite class. He made learning fun and reached so many students that needed someone like him to make learning at a tough age bearable . My deepest condolences to his family.

  14. Ken, You made a huge impression on me. As a young teacher at Warde, we partnered up to do an amazing Satirical, photo documentary exhibit. We were quite a match! Trouble with a capital “T”. You taught me that stretching limits would equate to stretching minds. You were right. RIP.

  15. Trying to fit 30 years of friendship within these borders is impossible. Many before me have summarized his life and contributions accurately with love and admiration. Trips to Maine, DC, NYC, dinners, Satire class, the “urban jungle” apartment, his beloved Mercedes, etc..etc..

    Ken was a great man who impacted my life and made me a better man. I look forward to sharing my stories and celebrating the life of Ken with his friends. Ken, thank you for being yourself. My family misses you already.

  16. RIP Mr. Mills. Your satire class was one where we all felt free to be. Laughter was guaranteed. You humor, joy of life and writing was contagious. Sending condolences to your family.

  17. Ken was an important mentor to me in my shaky formative years of teaching. He helped me understand that teaching is less about specific content than about establishing/earning mutual respect and trust, empowering students, fostering long-term relationships, and always reminding yourself to keep it real. He was a master of all these things, as is evident in so many of these posts. Ken was also loyal and loving friend to me for decades. I will miss him, and try to keep his important lessons close to my heart.

  18. Although my interactions with Ken were brief, they were always one of the highlights of my day. He will be truly missed by all who knew him. My deepest condolences.

  19. It’s a testament to Ken that so many of us felt like we had such a deep, personal relationship with him, and yet I’ve never met most of the other folks who were similarly close with him. That’s because he wasn’t a “big dinner party” kind of guy — he invested his time to make sure each relationship got his full attention. My wife and I will miss driving down to meet him at Molto for lunch, and I’ll miss the phone calls with him and of course the people-watching. He was brutally honest, kind, judgmental, insightful, inappropriate, and fun. One of a kind.

  20. Mr. Mills was truly one of a kind. His Satire class during my senior year was a watershed moment in my high school experience.
    I recall not only the clever and creative assignments in that class and his often hilarious stories, but also the variety of different conversations I would have with him after class or when I saw him in the cafeteria. We’d talk about everything from music to travel to comedy.
    Years later and early on in my career in education, I would find myself teaching both English and creative writing for a few years. So much of what I taught my students was inspired by what Mr. Mills had taught me several years earlier.
    He was incredibly witty, and he had a gift for inspiring others to be as well, and he encouraged others to think and write as creatively as possible. These are valuable skills I’ve carried with me all throughout my life, since that Satire class twenty-five years ago.
    Thank you, Mr. Mills.

  21. My heartfelt condolences. He was my favorite teacher. His exuberance for life and all the world has to offer was contagious and uplifting. Ken impacted my life….John

  22. I was sad to hear of Mr. Mill’s passing. I may not have kept in touch after all these years but like so many he taught, I want you to know how much he meant to me in those formative years. He was a fun, inspirational and unforgettable teacher. RLHS ’81