A lifetime of dedicated service

TRIBUTES have flowed for one of St Marys' much loved identities.

Vera Mills died at her Kingswood nursing home in October, aged 93, after dedicating much of her life to St Marys.

Born Vera Chesham, she attended St Marys Public and Penrith High schools before she left at 13 to care for her sick mother.

She married Reg Mills in 1940 and had three children Noelene (deceased), Jan and Robyn before Reg died in 1973.

"She was a very caring, simple woman who lived for her family," daughter Jan Jackson said.

"The funeral revolved around the family."

Mrs Mills dedicated more than 40 years raising funds for the former NSW Society for Crippled Children, which was renamed Northcott Disability Services.

She joined the St Marys auxiliary in 1966 as a founding member of the charity and served many positions including secretary, vice-president and president.

Mrs Mills was heavily involved with St Marys Public School.

"She was always working at the school for any fund-raisers," Mrs Jackson said."

She was a guest of honour at St Marys Public School's 150th celebrations and was chosen to cut the cake with the youngest pupil.

"It was one of the proudest moments of her life," Mrs Jackson said.

Mrs Mills spoke to the Star at the time of her fond memories of the school.

"My father also went to school here so I'm very honoured to be involved ," she said.

She manned the NSW Fire Brigade phone in the house when her husband was a firefighter.

"'It wouldn't be unusual to see eight or 10 firefighters sitting around the kitchen table with cups of tea at 3am, talking about the night," Mrs Jackson said.

Mrs Mills was recognised on Penrith Council's Wall of Achievement in 2008 for her community service.

St Marys Historical Society secretary Norma Thorburn described Mrs Mills as "lovely, friendly lady who was always willing to help others".

She is survived by nine grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

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