Randolph Mills, family man, doting grandfather

Posted: April 18, 2012

RANDOLPH Nero Mills was the kind of grandfather every kid should have. He had nine grandkids and attended just about every event they were involved in.

Not only that, but he made all of his grandchildren feel like his favorite. And he traveled as far as it took to be with them.

Randolph Mills, who was an insurance-claims administrator for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for 29 years and who supplemented his income with various part-time jobs, including as night watchman at a funeral home, died April 10. He would have been 82 on May 28. He was a longtime resident of the Germantown/Mount Airy neighborhood.

He was born in Philadelphia to William and Marion Mills. He interrupted his education to join the Army in 1947 and saw combat in the Korean War, receiving the Purple Heart medal.

When he returned from Korea, he met and married Constance Browning. When that marriage ended, he married Vivian Alexander.

Randolph was the family photographer, recording all family activities and compiling albums of photos. His daughter, Lisa Riddick, took it upon herself to stand guard over the albums because family members were always trying to steal their favorites.

He was also the organizer of family celebrations. He delighted in entertaining and feeding people, and he would pass out samples of his famous cakes to one and all.

Randolph was a fine example of sartorial splendor. He was always well-turned out. He disdained the popular jeans, calling them "work pants." If you ever needed a pen, he always had a couple tucked in his shirt pocket.

He had a selection of suits, but favored the light blue one.

Randolph had a low tolerance for noise. He would yell, "Quiet!" and all noise would cease. He could be found every Sunday seated in his favorite chair, reading a newspaper, listening to his eclectic music collection. He also enjoyed going to the Atlantic City casinos, which he called his "therapy."

Besides his wife and daughter, he is survived by three sons, Randolph, Keith and Kevin; another daughter, Yvonne; three stepchildren, Patricia Sanford, John Alexander and Andre Alexander; an adopted daughter, Judy Keitt; a sister, Dorothy Johnson; nine grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

Services: Were Tuesday. Burial was in Washington Crossing National Cemetery.


Contact John F. Morrison at 215-854-5573 or morrisj@phillynews.com.

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