The Rev. David K. Mills, a former civil rights advocate who founded a center for maritime education and conservation, died February 9, at 90.
A native of Evanston, Illinois, Mills graduated from Williams College and Virginia Theological Seminary, and was ordained in 1957. He served as curate of All Saints Church in Pontiac, Michigan, before becoming rector of the Church of Our Saviour in urban Cincinnati in 1959. Mills oversaw its racial integration in the early 1960s, and developed programs to deepen its connections with its changing neighborhood. He and members of the congregation were local leaders in the civil rights movement and marched with Martin Luther King in Selma in 1965.
Mills moved to Maine in 1972, where he used his skills to support a number of ecological projects, especially launching the Mount Desert Oceanarium, an educational center with a lobster hatchery, touch tanks, a lobster boat, and miles of salt marsh nature trails. He wrote a guide to coastal Maine and served on the boards of the New Creation Healing Center and the Institute of Christian Renewal.
Mills is survived by Audrey, his wife of 64 years, two children, three grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
The Rev. Canon Margôt Dorothy Lord Nesbitt, whose ministry at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City focused on the aged and grieving, died March 24, at 94.
Born in Tonbridge, Kent, in England, she moved with her family to Texas at the age of 3. They came to Oklahoma City’s newly opened Tinker Air Force Base when her father was stationed there during World War II, and she worked in the air traffic tower there as a teenager. She earned a doctorate in medieval studies at the University of Oklahoma, became a certified arts appraiser, and worked for many years in her husband’s law office.
Nesbitt was a leader at St. Paul’s Cathedral throughout her adult life, and said she felt drawn to the church by watching its activities out of the window of her high school classroom across the street. She served as a warden and vestry member, and on several diocesan committees. She answered a call to ordained ministry in her late 60s, first as a deacon in 1988, and six years later as a priest. She had an active ministry of visitation and pastoral counsel, and was cherished for her wise and loving presence.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles, and is survived by their three children, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
The Rev. Richard Preston Benedict Reid, OSB, the first abbot of St. Gregory’s Abbey in Three Rivers, Michigan, died on March 13, just a few weeks short of his 100th birthday.
Richard Reid was born in Denver, served in the military during World War II, and studied at Dartmouth and Loyola. He was admitted as a postulant in 1948 at what was then St. Gregory’s Priory, taking the name Benedict. He was ordained to the priesthood six years later by Bishop J. Reginald Mallett of Northern Indiana.
Reid became the community’s prior the next year, and when the abbey became independent of its mother house, Nashdom Abbey in England, in 1969, he became its first abbot. He was a valued spiritual director and confessor, and received an honorary doctorate from Seabury Western Seminary.
Reid took a sabbatical after 28 years of leading the community, and traveled around the country for several months, visiting monasteries and convents, as well as a maximum-security prison and the Esalen Institute, a center for New Age spirituality. He published A Spirit Loose in the World, an account of his journey and the people he met along the way, a few years later.
He stepped down as abbot in 1989 and moved to Palm Springs, California, where he lived as a solitary for the rest of his life, assisting occasionally in local churches.