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Mills death?/

Old 03-19-2006, 08:07 AM
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Unhappy Mills death?/

The Key West Citizen this morning on is reporting that Lee Mills died Friday night in Arizona from phenumonea.
Hate hearing of this.
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Old 03-19-2006, 08:27 AM
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Wow, goes to show you never know.


He will be missed in the boating community. A great champion for the offshore races in KW.

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Old 03-19-2006, 08:39 AM
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Powerboat promoter Lee Mills dies at 56

Citizen Staff

Marathon residents and powerboat racing enthusiasts up and down the Keys were shocked and saddened Saturday with word that Lee Mills, perhaps best known as a leading promoter of the Marathon Offshore Grand Prix and Key West Championship, passed away Friday night. He was 56.

Tim Greene, owner of Beachcomber Jewelers and Mills' best friend since they met through racing almost 10 years ago, said that Mills left his home in Marathon on a business trip to Arizona about a week ago. Apart from what Mills believed to be a mild form of bronchitis, Greene said that Mills was in good health when he left the Keys.

Mills quickly developed pneumonia after he arrived in Arizona, was taken to a Tucson area hospital and died, Greene said.

"It was a big surprise," he said. "Nobody had a clue that he wouldn't be coming back."

Greene, who's also 56, attributed the infrequent complaints that Mills had about his health throughout the years to the natural aging process.

"As he was getting older, Lee was realizing his health, at times, wasn't as good," Greene said. "He suffered little odds and ends, but he was always outwardly healthy."

Mills, a Miami native and prominent South Florida attorney, helped organize Jan Bell Marketing, a public company that supplies Sam's Club, Wal-Mart and other retail outlet stores with jewelry and other products. He served as chairman of the board and CEO of the company before his retirement.

For Greene and other Keys residents, however, Mills was better known for his passion for speed on the water.

"His love was racing boats," Greene said. "He never raced professionally, but he was very involved with supporting and promoting boat races."

Among those races is the Key West Championship, which Pierre Cardin watches became a major sponsor of through Mills'efforts.

Greene recalled the day a large truck carrying 10,000 watches pulled up to his jewelry store. Jan Bell had sent the watches down to Key West just to promote the boat races. Greene said that he and Mills had a good laugh at the thought of trying to sell so many watches in such a short amount of time.

"You could open your own Wal-Mart with that many watches," Greene said. "But, that's basically how they did business. They always thought big."

Mills was also behind the Marathon Offshore Grand Prix, a world-class powerboat race that's held in the Middle Keys every May.

"He envisioned the dream of putting on boat races in Marathon," Greene said, "and he made it happen."

Like Greene, Randy Mearns got to know Mills through racing.

Mearns, one of the organizers of this year's Marathon Seafood Festival, said that word of Mills' death was spreading quietly through the festival crowd Saturday.

Mills was a well-known member of the Middle Keys Events Council, a group of Marathon residents formed about a year ago to coordinate and fund events like the races and the festival in Marathon.

"Lee always seemed to enjoy putting on a quality event, and not for his own benefit," Mearns said. "The people of this town are indebted to him for bringing the races back to Marathon. It's a good business for the town and gets us in the national spotlight. Everybody's devastated, and he will be missed."

Andy Newman, spokesman for the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, worked with Mills on funding and public relations issues for several events.

"Lee understood the value of public relations, that's for sure," Newman said. "He certainly demonstrated his care and concern for the Marathon community, as well."

The races that Mills promoted made money for many local charities, Greene said.

"It wasn't about making money for Lee," he said, "but making money for the community."

Key West City Commissioner Mark Rossi, who serves as president of the Conch Republic Offshore Powerboat Racing Organization, also lamented Mills' passing.

"He took powerboat racing to a new level," Rossi said. "We'll miss Lee."

Mills is survived by Mary Jane Black, with whom he shared a home in Marathon; his parents; a brother; and a sister.

He's also survived by Greene.

"He was like a brother," Greene said.

Greene said that Mills will be buried in Texas. A memorial service for Mills will be held in Marathon at a later date.

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Old 03-19-2006, 08:49 AM
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Things like this always makes you reflect and put whats important into prespective

Way to young


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Old 03-19-2006, 08:50 AM
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pneumonia at 56 that sucks. way too young
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Old 03-19-2006, 08:51 AM
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RIP . Ya just never know

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Old 03-19-2006, 10:12 AM
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Old 03-19-2006, 10:43 AM
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May he rest in peace......

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Old 03-19-2006, 10:57 AM
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God speed Lee

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Old 03-19-2006, 01:09 PM
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Wow what a shock. I'm honored to call Lee a close friend of mine. He was without a doubt, the best offshore race producer of our time. He always put the racers first and understood the idea of putting on a great show for the fans, both on and off the racecourse.

He will be missed. Rest in peace my friend.

Here's Lee with the winners of the 2003 Key West Worlds.
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