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Celebrating the life of

Donald "Max" Mills

Passed away on May 31, 2024


Donald “Max" Mills, Commander, USN (RET) passed away peacefully at home with his wife by his side, on 5/31/24 after a brief illness. Max was born in Atkinson, NE, where he lived until receiving an appointment to attend the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He graduated in 1972 with a degree in business management and went on to attend flight school. Max had a distinguished twenty year career as a naval aviator, becoming a test pilot in 1978 and going on to get his master’s degree in aeronautical engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA in 1985. He continued his passion with aviation when he retired from the Navy in 1992. He went to work for Raytheon Aircraft in Wichita, KS (1992-1999) and finished his career at Gulfstream Aircraft (1999-2015) in Savannah, GA.

Max and Claudia married in 1977 and have 2 children: Joel Taylor Mills of Daytona Beach, FL and Dr. Ashlee Mills Duffy (Michael Brian Duffy) who lives in Omaha, NE along with his grandchildren, Patrick Mills Duffy and Marlowe Mills Duffy. He is also survived by his sister, Susan Mills Olberding (Dwaine Olberding), their 7 children and spouses and 22 grandchildren. He is preceded in his death by his parents, Don and Zola Mills and his sister, Candy Mills.

There was nothing more important to Max than family. He was very fond of his childhood in Nebraska and enjoyed telling stories and sharing memories. Max’s devotion to Claudia was only matched by his love for his children and grandchildren. Max’s friends will remember his loyalty and kindness. He earned the respect of peers and colleagues and he always acted and spoke with honor and integrity. He was as humble as he was generous and he lived a life in service of others. A connoisseur of cinnamon rolls, Max enjoyed classic BMW cars, military history books, and, of course, flying. Fitness was part of every day for Max…tennis, running races, he hiked the Appalachian Trail and was given the “Dragonfly” by his brothers in F3 Omaha. Although Max left this world too early for those who knew and love him, he had a profound sense of peace and gratitude until his final days…which he spent in the company of those for whom he cared the most.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Gary Sinise Foundation,, or a charity of your choice.




My heartfelt condolences to the Mills family. I worked with Max for a number of years at Gulfstream in Savannah. He was a brilliant man and one of my favorite mentors in quality. We kept in contact after he retired. God bless him. I can see Max ensuring that the angels in heaven are flying safely.

- John Grass, Port Saint Lucie , Florida

A candle has been lit!

Max was one of the most professional and brilliant people I have ever met. His passing saddens me. I worked with him at Gulfstream when I was young in Engineeting and he treated me with the utmost respect. Condolences to the family and what a wonderful legacy he leaves behind.

- Kristen Morgan, San Diego, California

So sorry Claudia for your loss. Mac was a true gentleman and loved his family so much. It was great to me to know him.

- Sandy Wiggins , Savannah , Ga

Services under the direction of:

Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel