Edward Franklin Mills
January 15, 1962-April 5, 2015
Eddie Mills, 53, died of liver failure in Wadesboro, NC, early on Easter Morning. He was a good brother, a loyal son, and a proud uncle.
Eddie was born with Down’s Syndrome. He was a happy and gentle soul who loved people and was loved in return.
Eddie loved church, music, professional wrestling, and being in hospitals, not necessarily in that order. He loved the hospitals because of the special attention he received from nurses and staff. He often grumbled when he was released and protested when he was not admitted.
Eddie was also an active and regular participant in the Special Olympics. He was an avid bowler and swimmer. In his youth, he loved to hit plastic baseballs with his brothers though he didn’t care too much for playing in the field.
A lifelong Episcopalian, Eddie loved church for the singing and ritual. He routinely greeted the choir and priest with handshakes and high-fives during the processional and recessional.
Though Eddie regularly attended Calvary Episcopal Church in Wadesboro with his parents, he also attended church with his caregivers in Southern Pines. At times in his life, he would cross himself at meals. At others, he would mumble “Amen” throughout church services. Eddie was really multi-denominational.
Eddie loved holidays, especially Christmas and was a life-long believer of Santa Claus, much to the chagrin of several mall Santas. He was fortunate to receive calls from the North Pole every December 24.
Eddie enjoyed exploring. He was often tracked down by Walmart security guards while on outings with his group home family. He also once showed up unannounced at the pro shop of an upscale golf course while attempting to follow his brothers and cousins on a golf outing. As a young man, he went to He’s Not Here in Chapel Hill with his brother and drank a cold beer, a tale he often repeated.
Eddie is survived by his father and mother, Judge Fetzer and Penny Mills of Wadesboro, his brothers Fetzer, Jr. (Becky), Thomas (Jenae) and his children Jasper, Lucy and Atticus, and Smithson (Kathy) and his children Sophie and Duncan. He is also survived by numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Eddie spent his adult life under the nurture and loving care of the staff and employees of group homes and a vocational center in Southern Pines, NC. The family expresses their deep appreciation for these special people who encouraged Eddie to be the best he could be and to love him generously, a love that was fully reciprocated.
A memorial service will be held at Calvary Episcopal Church where Eddie was baptized and confirmed on Tuesday, April 7 at 12 noon. Visitation will begin at 11 a.m.
Levitt Funeral Home of Wadesboro is serving the family.
In lieu of flowers, make donations to Calvary Episcopal Church, Wadesboro, NC, 308 E. Wade Street, Wadesboro, NC 28170 or Eastview Cemetery Trust, c/o Russell Sikes, Plank Road Realty, 209 E. Wade Street, Wadesboro, NC 28170.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >
Such a touching story! Thanks for sharing.
Thomas, so sorry to hear about your loss. We’ll keep him in our thoughts.
What a wonderful tribute; so sorry for your loss.
Thomas, I so often remember seeing Eddie at Calvary and admiring his enthusiasm. I also admired Penny and Fetzer for being so caring, and for never apologizing for Eddie’s singing and his joy. He had wonderful parents and a loving brother. I thoroughly enjoyed your comments! God bless! Harriet Caligan Dial Baker
Thomas, you, your patents, siblings and extended family were blessed by God to have had Eddie in your lives. All of you are in my prayers.
So sorry to hear of your loss. Your tribute came from the heart. Thank you for sharing the life of your special brother. You and your family will be in my thoughts today. Eddie made the world a better place and certainly made a difference.
Thomas, please know that you and all of your family–especially your mom and dad–are in our thoughts and prayers. I met Eddie at the beach when he was down with your parents. Your parents had invited us over for drinks and to catch up. Your mother introduced us to Eddie. He said to me “you sure are pretty”. A 50 some year old woman does not hear that often. So, I thanked him profusely and hugged him. I made a friend by simply replying to his kind words. A sweet soul, indeed. What would the world be if we all could be more like Eddie?
Eddie – Sweet Soul. Thomas – Loving Brother.
So sorry to hear of your loss- sounds like your brother had loving support throughout his life..
A lovely and heart-felt (especially to this reader) tribute, Thomas. Both you and Eddie will be in my thoughts today…..
This is a beautiful tribute to your brother! Do you ever read any of George Will’s stories about his son Jonathan, who has Down Syndrome?
Thomas, My condolences to you and your family. Sounds like your brother touched many lives. A sweet man and a good life well lived