Memorial Tribute – Charles Naylor Mills
died at his home in North Little Rock, Arkansas, the morning of November 8, 2015. He was born in Augusta, Arkansas, on August 28, 1937 at the home of his parents, Charley Lofton Mills and Midget Henrietta Higgins Mills.
He is survived by his adoring wife of more than 51 years, Letha Belknap Mills; two sons: Charles Lofton Mills and his wife Joanne Guzman Mills of Istanbul, Turkey; and Eric Robert Mills and his wife Anne Smith Mills of Little Rock, Arkansas; five grandchildren: Charles Michael Mills, Emily Jane Mills, Sara Anne Mills, Nika Yvonne Guzman, and Sasha Genevieve Guzman; his sister Georgia Heunefeld and her husband John Heunefeld; and their children Rick Heunefeld, Jan Anthony, Kurt Heunefeld, Charles “Buck” Heunefeld, their spouses and children; and his beloved canine companions Carla and JoJo. He is preceded in death by his mother and father.
Charlie, as he was commonly known, graduated from Augusta High School in 1955 and attended the University of Arkansas before serving four years in the United States Air Force. Following his military service he worked for Pan American Airways as a meteorologist and air traffic controller in Grand Turk, West Indies and Grand Bahama, where he also worked as a flight instructor. As an air traffic controller Charlie was once credited with two saves in a single week, guiding pilots that wandered off course to safe landings at the Caicos Island Airport.
From the time he was a young child in the late 1940s, Charlie wanted to pursue a career in aviation. He fulfilled his dream. Over a period of more than 56 years, he logged 20,915 hours as a pilot and flew 7,796,304 miles as a corporate pilot. He worked as Chief Pilot for Franklin Collier and the Galloway/Whitsitt Cotton Company in Augusta, Arkansas; Flowers Transportation in Greenville, MS; and Central Flying Service in Little Rock, Arkansas. He last worked as the Vice-President of Flight Operations for TCBY and Hickingbotham Investments. In 1984, he was named the Arkansas Professional Pilot of the Year, an honor befitting a career spanning more than 40 years defined by integrity, fortitude, excellence, and trustworthiness. After he retired, he would tell you that he missed looking down at the world from 43,000 feet.
Aside from work and family, Charlie loved duck hunting on the Cache River in Woodruff County, Arkansas. Duck hunting was central to who he was. He was perfectly at home in the duck woods where he hunted and called with his lifelong friends for more than 60 years.
Above all, Charlie loved Christ and his family. He proudly professed his faith and it informed every facet of his professional and personal life. He was a sweet and devoted husband, father, and grandfather. In his own words, “Meeting and marrying Letha has made my life so much fuller and worthwhile and given it a purpose and love for which I will eternally be grateful.”
Visitation will be Thursday November 12, 2015 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at Smith-North Little Rock Funeral Home at 1921 Main St., North Little Rock, Ark. 72114. The Memorial Service will be Friday, November 13, 2015 at 11 a.m. at the Park Hill Christian Church at 4400 JFK Blvd., North Little Rock, Ark. 72114. Honorary Pallbearers are Jerry Billy Pendergist, Larry Peebles, George Frisbee, Steele Kennedy, Bob Thompson, Allan Banaszak, and Gary Wirges.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or the Wounded Warrior Project.