Today we say farewell to a friend. Here is the Obituary for Wayne Mills as said during his memorial service today in Arab, Alabama:
Wayne Mills, 44 of Tennessee, formerly of Arab died Saturday, November 23, 2013 in Tennessee.
As a popular country singer-songwriter and leader of The Wayne Mills Band, he leaves behind an impressive body of work, including seven albums and thousands of shows over 20 years, and an unforgettable legacy serves as a testament to his philosophy of life.
“As for my music,” he told writer Neil Hamilton, “that’s still a work in progress, except to say that I know I’ve touched people deeper than I realize. I don’t expect anything. I just hope my music helps people move on and deal with life.” The most important things in his life were God, family, and music and he devoted his life to serving and loving all three.
He was born in Arab, Alabama where he enjoyed singing with his family at home and in the choir at the Baptist church. His parents and four sisters taught him not to fear tears, expressions of love, or standing up for what is right.
Although he learned to play piano and guitar as a teen, sports were his focus. He played baseball at Wallace State Junior College and football at the University of Alabama, where he earned a 4.0. It’s no surprise that he majored in education so that he could dedicate his life to helping others. He met fellow student, Carol Supinger in 1992 and they married in 2000. Their son, Jack Wright, was born in 2006.
After football ended, his guitar provided the perfect outlet for his feelings and ambitions. He formed his band and began playing in Tuscaloosa bars and his popularity began to spread. He moved to Nashville in 2003 and quickly became the heart of country music’s creative community.
He played the music industry game by his own rules, especially the Golden Rule. He viewed fellow performers as friends, not competition and was quick to share his good fortune, whether it was money, contacts or the spotlight. For Wayne, it wasn’t about money, but making music that pleased people. His warm bear hugs were infamous on Music Row. Artists such as Jamey Johnson and Blake Shelton opened for the Wayne Mills Band early in their careers. The gentle giant would give up paying shows to perform at benefits without hesitation. As writer Neil Hamilton noted, “Fun and friendly, Wayne also has a big, big heart. He’s so selfless that he probably doesn’t know what selfishness means. He’s also talented and versatile – musically and otherwise.”
Like Wayne, his music defied a simple description. He revered traditional country music, but he carved his own musical path, with each turn bringing a new chapter of creative exploration. His songs were edgy and vulnerable, tough and compassionate. In “One of These Days,” he sang, “My friends lost their lives, but I remember their dreams.” We will remember Wayne’s dreams, as well as his life and music and especially his heart.
Wayne leaves behind a whole host of family, his wife: Carol, a son: Jack Wright Mills; two sisters: Jackie Maddux and Paula Lemons (Lynn), his grandmother: Ruby Neel, several nieces, nephews, cousins and many dear friends.
Funeral Service will be 1:30 p.m. Sunday, December 8, 2013 at Arab High School Auditorium (located at 511 Arabian Drive; Arab, AL 35016).
The only visitation will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at Arab High School Auditorium (located at 511 Arabian Drive; Arab, AL 35016)
Burial will take place privately.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website with over 20 years experience in music journalism, concert planning, photography, and promotion. Jessica is a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the 2019 Leadership Kentucky BRIGHT Class and a recipient of the Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award. Listen to her each week on WFKY on Friday mornings for the Nashville News Roundup.