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Mildred Stephens

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Mildred Kirby Nickels was born Nov. 19, 1930, in Monroe, Michigan, to Bertrand and Mildred Nickels. She preferred to be called Millo, and she showed her early independence by attending Antioch College in the 1950s, studying a variety of subjects.

While at Antioch, she met Stephen “Steve” Stephens. After graduation, the couple married and lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Steve’s family also lived. Millo and Steve lived in Tulsa for three years until they moved back to Yellow Springs in 1955, when Steve accepted a job at Vernay Laboratories. Millo supported Steve throughout his career of over 30 years at Vernay. By the time they had returned to Yellow Springs, they were already the parents of three small children. For the next 43 years they lived in Yellow Springs, as their family expanded to seven children.

Millo enjoyed tennis and swimming, and she was highly involved in the community. She engaged in discussion groups and book club gatherings, and she loved to travel with family. She traveled to Europe, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Belize and Southeast Asia, among many other destinations. In retirement, Millo and Steve moved to a house on Smith Mountain Lake in Huddleston, Virginia, and, in the winter months, to a house in Green Valley, Arizona. Millo loved to read and learn, and she took classes in art, architecture and current events. Later in life she became interested in politics, paying keen attention to elections in Virginia, Arizona and nationally.

She was a member of Our Lady of the Valley parish, and she enjoyed going to various churches in Tucson and Tubac, Arizona. Millo loved to keep up with the news of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was a true matriarch of a large and loving family, which is spread out across the country.

She died peacefully at home in Green Valley, Arizona, on Jan. 18, 2024, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. She will be deeply missed by all of her family and friends, and by her beloved corgi, Ali.

Millo is survived by her seven children, Charlie Stephens, Beth Holyoke, Mark Stephens, Jill Stillions, Chris Stephens, Nick “Timothy” Stephens and Julie Stephens; eight grandchildren, Christopher Stephens, Amanda Stephens, Dinah Stephens, Walker Stephens, Kayla Madison, Molly Stillions, Tristan Holyoke and Alban Holyoke; and four great-grandchildren.

She will be buried in St. Paul Cemetery in Yellow Springs, next to her husband of 50 years, Stephen Stephens.

Viewing will be held Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, from 10–11 a.m., at St. Paul Catholic Church, with the service beginning at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Glen Helen Association, Yellow Springs, Ohio. Arrangements are in care of Jackson Lytle & Lewis Funeral Home. Condolences may be expressed to her family by visiting


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