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Local orthopedic surgeon, physician dies

Dr. William J. Mills, III, 53, died Tuesday evening, March 15, 2011. After being severely injured in a skiing accident, he passed away at Providence Alaska Medical Center, surrounded by his family.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Dena'ina Center.

Bill was born July 21, 1957, to William and Elaine Mills in Anchorage. He attended Anchorage schools and graduated from West Anchorage High School in 1975.

During his high school years, he was a state championship swimmer. He attended the University of Michigan for his undergraduate studies, where he also swam competitively. He then achieved a master's degree from the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

After joining the Navy, Bill attended the University of Colorado Medical School, where he met and married Carey Jackson in 1991. He then attended resident's training in general surgery and orthopedic surgery at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Leaving the Navy as a lieutenant commander, Dr. Mills practiced medicine in Seattle for six years.

In 2004, Bill moved back to Anchorage with his family. He joined Orthopedic Physicians Anchorage and became a well-loved local physician and surgeon.

Dr. Mills' many honors and accolades include: the Academy Faculty Teaching Award, University of Washington Orthopaedic Residency Program, and the Gerald Cady Award for Research Development, Naval Medical Center, San Diego.

He served as an associate professor in the Department of Orthopaedics at the University of Washington in Seattle. During his six years in Seattle, Dr. Mills was also an attending surgeon at Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical Center and the Veterans Administration hospital.

Bill enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, cross-country and alpine skiing, shrimping, kayaking, skating, biking, running in the Anchorage area, family hockey games and hikes, watching the sports events of his children and enjoying the outdoors with his family. His many adventures in Alaska included crab fishing in the Bering Sea, deer hunting on Kodiak Island and fly-fishing Alaska's streams.

Bill was well known for his kind and protective nature. Family was very important to him, especially his wife and five children, who were the light of his life.

Dr. Mills is survived by his parents, Dr. William and Elaine Mills; his wife, Carey; children, Isabel, Jackson and Isaiah; children, Emily and Tyler and their mother, Chris Silva; his siblings, Sarah Mills, Janet Miessner and husband Steve, Martha Rapuzzi and husband Rich, Mary Day and husband Larry, John Mills and wife Pauline, and Matthew Mills; 12 nieces and nephews; and four great-nieces and great-nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 800-533-2873, jdrf.org. Please direct inquiries to: theorthodocs@opaak.com, 907-644-5316.

Arrangements are with Alaskan Heritage Memorial Chapel & Crematory, www.akheritage.com.

Visit the online memorial at legacy.com