James Ernest Mills Sr., 78, a resident of Arjay, peacefully entered into eternal life on Aug. 18, 2016, after a long battle with cancer.
James was a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.
James was born on Nov. 20, 1937, on Stinking Creek at Mills (Knox County) to Clarence Hobart and Stella Mills, who preceded him in death.
James married his high school sweetheart, Bernadine Carnes, at the First Baptist Church in Tazewell, Tennessee, in 1956. This Aug. 31, James and Bernadine would have celebrated 60 years of marriage. They moved to Michigan, had three children and James worked 17-and-a-half years for General Motors in Warren before moving his family back to Kentucky in 1971 to become an owner in Mills Furniture and Appliance Store, Inc. He became sole owner of the business in 1981.
Throughout his life, James worked as a member and officer in various organizations that strive to assist others in the community and across the state. James was a member of the First Baptist Church of Pineville. He was one of the founding members of the Bell County Volunteer Fire Department and served as an officer, firefighter or member for 37 years. He was Past President of the Bell County 4-H Adult Council. James served as Past President of the Pineville Kiwanis and was an honorary lifetime member of the club. He was also the Past President of the Bell County Shrine Club and an Ambassador of the Oleika Shrine Temple. He was a lifetime member of the Bell Lodge #691 and the Northern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite. Additionally, James was a past officer and member of Pineville Chapter #89 Order of the Eastern Star. He received many public honors and recognitions as well. James was an Honorary Kentucky Colonel; Colonel, Aide de Camp, Commissioner's Staff of the Kentucky State Police, Commonwealth of Kentucky; Honorary Judge Executive Knox County, and an Honorary Citizen of Pineville.
James is survived by his loving wife and steadfast companion, Bernadine Carnes Mills, of Arjay. He is also survived by his three children: Bridget (Gary) Baker, of Middlesboro, James Ernest (Deborah) Mills Jr. and Rev. Timothy Hobart Mills, both of Arjay. Four special grandchildren: James Ernest Mills III, of Arjay, Brittany Elizabeth Baker, of Middlesboro, Megan Danielle Mills, of Richmond, and Morgan Alexandria Mills, of Arjay.
He is also survived by two sisters: Bobbie Jean (Alton Ray) Hicks, of Manchester, and Peggy Mills King (Bert), of Mt. Vernon. A sister, Alice (John) Shelton, preceded him in death. A sister-in-law, Imogene Mills, of Arjay, also survives him. Also mourning his passing is a host of nephews, nieces, cousins and friends.
Serving the family as pallbearers are his nephews: Douglas Critt Hicks, Bert Hanley King and Joey Shelton. Cousins serving as pallbearers are: Curt Messer, Glen Messer, LeRoy Hale, Ben Tye Smith, Donnie Mills, Lowell Mills, Jerry Lee Mills and Jerry Mills. Honorary pallbearers are: T.J. Carnes, Gobel Hale, Frank D. Bingham, Kenneth Messer, Otis Mills, Bell County Shriners and Bell County Volunteer firefighters.
Visitation will be held at the First Baptist Church of Pineville on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, from 4-9 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, from 10 a.m. until the funeral hour at 2 p.m. The service will be conducted by his son, the Rev. Tim H. Mills, as his children will lead in the celebration of his life. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to: The UT Medical Center Cancer Institute 1926 Alcoa Highway Suite 310 Knoxville, TN 37920; Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children c/o Bell County Shrine Club P.O. Box 991 Middlesboro, KY 40965 or First Baptist Church 405 West Kentucky Avenue Pineville, KY 40977.
Interment will be in the Binghamtown Cemetery at Dewitt immediately following the funeral service. Masonic funeral rites will be conducted at the cemetery. Arrangements are being handled by the Hopper Funeral Home of Barbourville.
Published on  August 23, 2016