Kathleen Ann (Jennings) Jennings-Mills

February 10, 1956 ~ November 5, 2022 (age 66) 66 Years Old

Kathleen Jennings-Mills Obituary

Kathleen Ann Jennings-Mills, born in Bethpage, New York,  February 10, 1956. Passed away in Idaho Falls, Idaho, November 5, 2022. The oldest child of Tom and Patricia Jennings, and sister to Tom Jennings Jr. 

Kathleen and her family traveled much of the world and the U.S. during her youth while her father Tom built his career in the U.S. Air Force and at General Dynamics.  Ultimately, they settled in Texas, where in keeping with her early academic  intensity and desire for success,  she attended Texas A & M University. In 1978 she graduated with Honors from A & M as the first female graduate of the Nuclear Engineering school and became a lifelong ‘Aggie’. Consistent with her interest and education in the nuclear energy field, she began her career at the Naval Reactors Facility in southeast Idaho. During her time there she met Bill Mills who also was beginning a long career supporting the Nuclear Navy. 

The two of them found common interests in the outdoors and raising animals including horses, mules, turkeys and one of Kathleen’s life-long loves, cats. They owned homes in Pocatello, Idaho, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and Richland, Washington, during their storied and successful careers, but during all those moves, they continued to build their dream home on 50 acres in Darby, Montana. Kathleen participated with energy and enthusiasm during long weekends and vacations over 12 years with Bill, building a home that only two engineers could imagine. Often as Kathleen would describe it, she was headed to “Billy’s work camp” for her holiday.

Kathleen’s time spent with Bill involved learning to ski, and typical of both of them they wanted to master the sport, be of help to others and learn the ropes on the mountain. They both became members of the National Ski Patrol and over 35 years served mountains in Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Montana. Kathleen received awards including National Appointment status (#8480), Senior Patrol status, Outdoor Transport Instructor, Outdoor Emergency Care, Senior Instructor, and Senior Examiner. 

Kathleen’s life was notable in her exceptional enthusiasm for life and immersing herself in a broad spectrum of interests, including a life-long enjoyment of anything Star Trek, bird watching, Salmon fishing in Alaska, supporting the Richland Washington Hockey team, avid support of wilderness preservation and most notably her support of women in engineering at Texas A & M. She began early in her career a commitment to supporting women engineering students at A & M. She continued this support over 30 years and is recognized with a permanent plaque at A & M  commemorating this lifetime of support for the President’s Endowed Scholarship. She and Bill annually made the trip to A & M to award their scholarship to a selected student.

Kathleen’s life was cut too short, but she left an indelible legacy in her efforts with the National Ski Patrol and support of women in engineering.

She is survived by her father, Tom Jennings; brother, Tom Jr.; three nephews; step-son, Charles Mills and his family of three children; and three grandchildren.

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