Ollcott G. Mills: Jan. 7, 2016

Published 12:25 pm Friday, January 8, 2016

On April 20, 1935, a precocious little boy was born to Ollcott and Betty Mills in Westerly, Rhode Island. Raised by his very British grandparents, Ted and Elizabeth Marsh, “Bud,” as he preferred to be called, demonstrated a keen intellect and an inquisitive spirit at an early age; he graduated high school early, ditched his nomination to Annapolis, and ran away to join the Army.
Testing off the charts in the Army, he was chosen to join an elite corps of radio/electronics engineers, where his interests and training eventually led to a career in television. Bud was instrumental in developing the technology at RCA in the ‘50s which led to the advent of the electron microscope and to color television, and slow-motion filming technology as used in the NFL. A lifelong career in television included stints at Telemation, Angeneaux, and Ikegami, where Bud’s sales and technology leadership was critical in establishing the Japanese firm as the world leader in hand-held field news cameras. He would later serve as chief engineer for various remote sports production units, CBS News (where he and colleagues were apprehended and held hostage by Iraqi intelligence in Baghdad, during the first Gulf War) and as chief engineer for ABC Monday Night Football broadcasts.
Bud married Joye Adams in Atlanta in 1973, and immediately moved his newly acquired brood of Joye and her five children to Americus, her hometown. The Mills/Mathis clan took up residence in the large white Victorian house at 522 S. Lee St., where his daughter Elizabeth was born in 1976. The house at 522 became home to many raucous, happy, fun-filled memories, holiday celebrations and (legendary) teenage exploits.
Bud was a true Renaissance Man, with areas of interest as diverse as HAM radio, electronics, golf, scuba diving, metalworking and woodworking. He was a brilliant mechanic (who built and raced his own race-car on the NASCAR circuit), an accomplished private pilot, and a master sailor and seaman, eventually achieving his captain’s license. He would pursue his love of the sea by living aboard his 27′ Catalina with Joye, where they explored the Florida coast, Bimini, the Gulf, and the Bahamas.
In 1982, Bud and Joye moved to Palm Harbor, Florida, to open a Southeast regional office for Ikegami. They also lived in Miami, and St. Augustine, eventually retiring and coming home to Sumter County, where he was the captain for the dinner cruise boat at Lake Blackshear Resort, and he captained an offshore crew-delivery ferry for oil rigs in Texas.
It is one thing to have aspired to a life of greatness; it is another thing altogether to have achieved greatness simply by living one’s authentic life. Bud left this realm early in the morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, after a 14-year battle with leukemia and heart ailments. His sense of humor, perseverance and courage, and his love of Jesus Christ were inspiring and remarkable to all who knew him.
A visitation will be held from 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, at Aldridge Funeral Services.
A private funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, at St. John’s Anglican Church of Americus.
Interment will follow at 11:30 a.m. at Oak Grove Cemetery, and is open to the public
He is survived by his wife Joye; his sons Quin, Barry and Brian Mathis; his daughters Kelly Tanner, Jennifer Swain, and Elizabeth Samuy; his grandchildren Kristy, Adam, Hannah, Olivia, Garrett, Taylor, Carolyn, Jonathon, Alexandra, Jackson, Morgan, Stephanie, Thomas, Samantha, Marin and Nadia; and three great-grandchildren, Dylan, Makayla, and J.J.
In lieu of flowers it is requested that donations be made to the Building Fund at St. John’s Anglican Church, Americus, or to Phoebe Sumter Hospice.
Aldridge Funeral Services, 612 Rees Park, Americus, Ga., is in charge of rangements. To offer condolences or share a special memory please go to www.aldridgefuneralservices.com