William Raymond “Ray” Mills passed away on October 24th, 2021, at the age of 74. Ray was born the youngest of three children on November 12th, 1946, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He was preceded in death by his parents, Dora L. Mills and Raymond Manley Mills. He is survived by his wife, Mary Elizabeth “Liz” Dreher Mills of Coker; daughter, Lisa Lake (George) of Tuscaloosa; son, Michael Mills of Coker; brother, Robert “Bob” Mills (Vivian) of Fort Walton, Florida; and sister, Brenda Mills Smith of Tuscaloosa. His grandchildren are Chace Lake (Carsyn) of Tuscaloosa, Garrett Lake of Tuscaloosa, Sydney Lake of Birmingham, and Avery Lake of Tuscaloosa. The family would also like to acknowledge his two devoted furry companions, Rudy Mills, a 10-year-old family Rat Terrier, and his grand-dog, Trevor Mills, a 14-year-old German Shepherd mix. Ray was a resident of the Tuscaloosa area his entire life, growing up around the Flatwoods Road area of Northport. He was a 1965 graduate of Tuscaloosa County High School, and afterward, he voluntarily joined the United States Marine Corps. Ray actively served his country in Vietnam for 13 months from 1968-1969 as a military-trained electrician and saw active combat near Da Nang, where he was stationed. Upon returning home after his military service, Ray pursued a college education at the University of Alabama, concentrating in Business and Psychology. Afterward, he relocated to Montgomery, Alabama to manage the Pizza Hut off Atlanta Highway. This is where he met Mary Elizabeth Dreher in February 1970. Liz successfully attracted his attention by writing a note on a napkin and leaving it for him while out with her friends. After returning a few days later, they spoke for the first time, which began their courtship and lifelong partnership, which lasted 51 years. Ray would marry Liz on July 25th, 1970, in Montgomery. After returning to the area, Ray eventually purchased the Northport Amoco station and operated the store for about 15 years. He was a well-known and liked member of the community, frequently offering free coffee to police officers and firefighters in the mornings. This was important to him as he was a strong proponent of showing appreciation to men and women who served their country and communities. Ray also frequently donated money to a variety of community and religious organizations as it was instilled in him that service and charity were some of the most important traits a man could have. Though raised Southern Baptist, he was not active in a church in his later years, but he remained a strong believer in Christ and exemplified his teachings. He was a selfless giver, avoided the spotlight, and shunned being the center of attention. He possessed a subtle, satirical sense of humor, and often was an active listener in lieu of participating in conversations around him. Ray had several hobbies and interests. Most notably, he was a lifelong fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide and delighted in seeing Coach Nick Saban restore glory to his favorite team. Ray was also a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers and was an avid reader and frequent patron of and donor to the Tuscaloosa Public Library. He was an engaged student of military history and documentary films, and as an animal lover, he regularly enjoyed watching The Incredible Dr. Pol and The Dog Whisperer. Ray also thoroughly enjoyed being around children, with two children of his own, and four grandchildren. His face would light up when spending time with his grandchildren, and he counted those blessings every day. One of his favorite hobbies was the meticulous attention to and joy of cutting grass and working in the yard. He was also quite fond of starting and maintaining a garden for many years, as well. He truly enjoyed spending time outdoors. Seldom does a day go by when one is unable to picture Ray in overalls and ball cap, cutting grass, mowing through Liz’s flowers, and tending to the house or perched in his favorite rocking chair. He was introverted, but personable, charismatic, and charming when necessary. He was a wonderful dad and grandfather and will be dearly missed. Pallbearers are Michael Mills, Lisa Lake, Robert “Bob” Mills, Brenda Smith, George Lake, Chace Lake, Garrett Lake, Sydney Lake, Avery Lake, and Steve Mills. The funeral service will be Saturday, November 6th, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Spirit Catholic Church with columbarium interment to follow. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service, beginning at 9:00 a.m. at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Norwood-Wyatt Chapel is in charge of arrangements. Church address is 733 James I Harrison Jr. Pkwy., Tuscaloosa, AL 35405. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in the name of Ray Mills to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV.org), a disabled veterans service organization, the Dementia Society of America (dementiasociety.org), or the American Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org).