LAUREL — Susan A. Mills, 76, of Laurel, passed away Monday, July 14, 2014, after a courageous battle with breast cancer. Sue was a wonderful mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, musician and composer who was always ahead of her time and will be dearly missed by all who knew her. Sue attended college when almost all women were getting married, had a professional teaching career as many young wives were having children, then stopped teaching to raise her own family in the 1960s when so many women were first entering the work force.
According to Susan: "This was her musical life" - she always loved singing, played in the city band, and taught piano professionally for many years after her children were in school, then began writing her own music later in life. Her compositions focused on peace, nature and love, which mirrored her personal values and beautiful personality. Sue's love touched hundreds of children through her teaching. She was an extraordinarily kind, gentle, patient and compassionate person. Sue loved animals and all of nature's wonders, especially creeks and streams.
She was born in Illinois, but grew up in Wisconsin: Beaver Dam, Fox Lake and on a farm outside of Endeavor. The oldest of seven kids, she was the first member of the family to attend college at Stevens Point, receiving a BA in Education in 1959. She began teaching first grade in Manitowoc soon after graduation and married D. Harvey Ulrich in 1960. They moved to Peoria, Ill.; Poterville, Calif.; Sweet Home, Ore.; and Libby and Great Falls; Harvey working as a Civil Engineer on large construction jobs and Susan teaching. Their daughter, Dawn Ulrich (now Kaufman), was born in Oregon and their son, Lance Ulrich, was born in Libby. Susan moved to Laurel in 1996 to be closer to family.
Susan is survived by her brother Dallas; and her sisters Nancy, Mary, Jean and Jane; her daughter Dawn; son Lance; granddaughter Britney; grandson Ryan and her great-granddaughter Aliyah. She is preceded in death by her father Harold, mother Vaudice, and her brother Danny.
Memorial services will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 19, at Smith's Funeral Chapel, 925 S. 27th St., Billings, MT 59101. The family kindly requests that donations be made to cancer research in lieu of flowers.