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News > Passing of friends > Derrick C R Mills (1946) was deeply loved by his 10 children and 18 grandchildren

Derrick C R Mills (1946) was deeply loved by his 10 children and 18 grandchildren

Dane Rogers (Grade 11 G) sketched this ballpoint drawing of Derrick when he was in Grade 9 and Derrick was 91

We received the sad news that Derrick C R Mills (1946G) passed away peacefully on 3 September 2022 at his home in Kenilworth.

We were very fortunate to also receive this lovely write up from David Rogers (1981G), stepson of Derrick:

Derrick Mills was born on 29 October 1928 in Kenilworth, Cape Town. He went to school at Bishops was a Gray House prefect and an excellent longer distance runner, particularly over the Mile.  Derrick finished school in 1946, and with the war over, considered a career in journalism.  In 1947 he joined his family’s company Daniel Mills and Sons working shifts.  Who would have expected that he would eventually become Managing Director and Chairman of this highly successful family firm which is well known for its brand Anchor Yeast.

Derrick received his South African Airforce wings in 1949 and was part of a civilian unit flying Spitfires and Harvards. He became Captain of 7 Squadron. He was a 1-handicap golfer and played regularly in the Western Province Amateur Championship winning the Kingsley Trophy in 1961 and 1967, He was also winner of the Royal Cape Club Championships in 1967. In his later years he was a keen cyclist and canoeist.

Derrick became Managing Director of Daniel Mills and Sons in 1955 and Chairman in 1967. Under his charismatic and astute leadership the South African business expanded to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Mauritius and forged international alliances. Very few family-owned businesses remain successful through five generations, but Derrick and his team sailed the Anchor ship through a very profitable period and eventually concluded the sale of the business in 2005.

Derrick was a kind and loving family man. He and his first wife Rosemary had four children Caroline, Elizabeth, Julia and Andrew. He married Liz in 1969 (she had four children Peter, Catherine, Jacqui and David) and soon added two more children of their own, Tessa and Derrick junior, to create a large and loving yours-mine-and-ours family. He was deeply loved by his 10 children, 18 grandchildren and will be remembered for his great generosity, sense of humour, kindness and deep love for dogs.

We also received an email from Jenni Saunders who described him as follows:

He was always up for some mischief, a good joke and always made people feel welcomed and noticed. An absolute gentleman in every way. So special that our sons walk in his footsteps at Gray/Bishops.

He was father to Derrick Mills (1990G), stepfather to Peter Rogers (1977G) and David Rogers (1981G) and his step-grandchildren currently at Bishops are Liam Rogers (Grade 12 G) and Dane Rogers (Grade 11 G).  Dane sketched the ballpoint pen drawing (see above) of Derrick when he was in Grade 9 and Derrick was 91.

By all accounts Derrick lived a life that was well-examined and well worth living, in the course of which he generated a great deal of family love for those who were his family and friends, across generations.

It is certain that he will be missed by all who knew him well.

A memorial service will be held at Christchurch, Constantia on 17 September at 11 am.

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