Ralph Reynard Mills

Mills, ReynardRalph Reynard Mills, age 81, of the Carlile, Wyoming, area, passed away on Friday January 27, 2017, at Serenity Valley Elder Care in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.

Reynard was born July 28, 1935, in Gillette, Wyoming, to Ralph and Evelyn (Decker) Mills. They lived on the Mills family homestead in the Lawver community 35 miles south of Gillette, near present day Wright.

As the oldest in the third generation of Mills working the homestead, Reynard was forced to grow up at an early age. In fact, he was small enough when he was driving a team of horses cutting hay they had to hang a bucket of rocks on his seat to counter weight the harness on the horses. He attended country school in that area through 10th grade. First seeing the Black Hills of Wyoming and Devil’s Tower on an elementary field trip, he described them as being so beautiful, like nothing he had seen before and he struggled to put into words what he had experienced to his folks who had never seen the Hills either. He attended Campbell County High School his junior year. His senior year was completed at Hulett High School and he graduated in 1953.

In July of 1952, his family purchased a ranch located on the Belle Fourche River, east of Carlile, and 12 miles north of the Keyhole Reservoir and thus began the River Valley Ranch. Reynard worked with his father on the ranch until 1957.

In 1956, he married Alice Garman of the Carlile – Cabin Creek area. During the first years of marriage they lived and worked in the communities of Carlile, Hulett and Sundance. Ranch-hand, logger, mechanic, and butcher were a few of the titles he was known for. The ‘job’ that gave him the most satisfaction and joy is that of husband to Alice for 56 years until her passing in 2012, and a father to their eight children.

Reynard worked for his parents for a short time and then for various other ranchers including, Art Zimmerschield, Merritt Barton and Ruth Frolander. In 1957, they moved to Hulett and Reynard worked for Richard Barbour, Hank Neiman and Jim Neiman in the timber industry. In 1961, he went to work for his brother-in-law, Harry Lee Garman, at Garman Machine located at Carlile. In 1964, he began with the Wyoming Highway Dept. and worked there until 1970. In July of 1971, Reynard moved his family back to the River Valley Ranch, and in 1977, he and Alice along with their eight children began operating the ranch as his parents retired.

Reynard always enjoyed helping neighbors by lending a hand. He enjoyed working his dogs and found great satisfaction in training them to herd. He served many years on the church board, school district board, and various others throughout his ranching career. Reynard’s faith in the Lord was his sure and steady guide throughout his life and in his desire to show people he came in contact with the love of Christ.

Reynard is survived by his eight children, Steve (Ronda) Mills of Duvall, Washington, Gary (Gail) Mills of Powell, Wyoming, Karen (Jim) Hutchinson of Newcastle, Wyoming, Debbie (Troy) Harrington of Hammond, Montana, Patricia ( David) Flowerdew of Cheney, Washington, Doug (Dena) Mills of Hulett, Justin (Myla) Mills of Upton, Wyoming and Brian (Heidi) Mills of Sundance; 13 grandsons and 13 granddaughters; a sister, Clarabelle Carter of Springfield, Missouri and his Aunt Elva Howard of Cleveland, Tennessee. He was preceded in death by his wife, Alice Mills; parents, Ralph and Evelyn Mills and his brother Raleigh Mills.

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, February 3, 2017, at Fidler-Roberts & Isburg Funeral Chapel in Sundance. A Memorial Celebration Service will be held at the Hulett High School Gymnasium at 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 4, 2017, in Hulett.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made out to Hulett Assembly of God Church and will also benefit the RAM Center and Crook County Fire.

Arrangements are under the care of Fidler-Roberts & Isburg Funeral Chapel in Sundance, WY.

Online condolences may be written at www.fidler-isburgfuneralchapels.com.