Mary Mills of Mills music in Bothell dies, stores sold

Mary Mills shared her love of music with the Bothell community for 40 years.

She opened Mills Music Corporation with husband Michael Mills around 1972 and had seven other locations in Washington State. Mary was the corporate office manager for the company and was known for her sincere interest in her employees and their lives outside of work.

“Mary was warm and loving,” said Tania Mills, Mary’s daughter-in-law. “She was passionate about music and stressed to all her customers that music was more than just something to good to learn, it was a way to express yourself.”

Mary died of pancreatic cancer April 26 at Kirkland Hospice Center surrounded by her family.

“Mary always had a beautiful radiant smile,” Tania said. “She loved life and was extremely dedicated to her children and husband.”

Following Mary’s death, the company was bought by Music & Arts, a band and orchestra instrument retailer and lesson provider that has 12 other stores in locations including Burien, Issaquah and Kent.

“We are thrilled to add Seattle to our retail footprint in Washington State by welcoming Mills Music customers to Music & Arts,” said Kenny O’Brien, CEO of Music & Arts, in a press release from the company. “We are committed to upholding Mills Music’s dedication to its customers while continuing our commitment to top-notch customer service and music education.”

The Mills family said they are happy with the decision to sell to Music & Arts and feel the company will stay true to Mary’s vision.

“After 40 years of serving the Seattle community, we are excited to enter our next chapter as a member of the Music & Arts family,” said Michael. “Music & Arts’ commitment to music education and customer service matches our dedication to prioritizing our customers’ needs.”

Mary met Michael while working at People’s Bank in Othello, Wash. Michael was stationed there in the Air Force. The family moved to Japan and California with the military but later settled in Seattle.

Mary was a stay at home mom while the children were young. Her kids say she was always supportive of her children, never missing a sporting event or activity.

“My kids are musical because of her,” Tania said.”One of my kids plays a couple instruments and my 3-year-old attends a music class and is learning the piano this year. Mary definitely spread her passion on to them.”

Mary began a 30 year tradition in Bothell’s Fourth of July Parade, starting the Mills Music Marching Band for music students which gave kids the opportunity to learn and experience the art of marching in parades at a young age. Her family says the community’s support after her death showed how much of an impact she had in the Bothell area.

“It’s amazing to see how many lives she touched,” Tania said. “We had people from the community sending us food, flowers and just flooding us with support.”

Services for Mary will be held at 4 p.m. on May 4 at the Bothell Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, located at 19540 104th Ave. NE. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, attendees send donations to Evergreen Health Hospice in Kirkland.

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