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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Visiting with June

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Photos submitted Family and friends, from the left: June's late son Scott Mills and his wife Faye; Roy and Lynn Cranor of Steamboat Springs; Joanna and Harley Cranor; and June in front center. Joanna and Harley visit June regularly on Saturday or Sunday.

June Mills has been a familiar face and presence in Delta County for a long time. People who come to visit other residents at Crossroads Assisted Living often greet June in the hallway, or knock on her door and stop to visit for a few minutes.

And of course people come to Crossroads specifically to visit with June.

June was born north of Austin to Boyd and Lucille Fergus in 1926.

"I liked to play with the boys more than with the girls when I was a child because the boys climbed trees and did other things that were fun," June said.

"And I liked to sleep on the hay stack at night and listen to the cattle lowing."

June said her life as a young person centered around the church. She has cherished memories of Baptist Camp on Grand Mesa and her school teacher, Mary Ann Kasting, who also taught the young people at camp.

They played games called Flying Dutchman, Two Deep, and Prince of Paris Lost His Hat.

"We really enjoyed the vesper services by the lake with the campfires going.

"I had a wonderful childhood," June said.

June recalled the Austin flood, when Fruit Growers reservoir flooded and boulders were being undermined and tumbling all over the area.

"A lot of the houses were flooded away and the Baptist Church had water in the basement.

"We were up on the hill and escaped the flood," June recalled.

June graduated from Delta High School, as had her mother Lucille, and later her son Scott.

As many people in Delta County will remember, June was a hairdresser. For 68 years, including the time she spent in beauty school in Grand Junction, she said.

The beauty school was up above the J.C. Penney store and June lived with a family in Grand Junction. She rode her bike a lot while she was there.

"One day I biked back to the house and went to my room. Then it hit me -- I left that lady under the dryer! I hopped on my bicycle, went back to the beauty school, and took her out from under the dryer. She didn't realize she had been under the dryer longer than usual."

After June was back in Delta and had her own beauty shop, one of her clients was Helen Mills.

While June was fixing Helen's hair one day, she said, "I want you for my daughter-in-law. I have a son in Alaska who is just right for you."

Helen's son was Pete Mills, who was discharged from the military a short time after that.

For their first date, June and Pete, and four other couples, went to see a movie at the Egyptian Theatre.

Asked if she liked Pete on their first date, June said, "Yes, I did. He was quiet, and yes I did."

June and Pete were married Feb. 23, 1945, in the Baptist Church in Austin, the first couple to be married in the new church.

June recalled teaching a class of fourth graders in Sunday School at the Baptist Church in Austin. "I really did love them," she said.

June and Pete built their home on a parcel of land north of Austin owned by her parents and where her parents' had built their home.

June had no brothers or sisters. Pete came from a family with 10 children. June wanted one child. Pete and June had that one child, Scott, born April 25, 1951.

When Scott was a student at Mesa College, he would come home on weekends, and other students would be home from their colleges for the weekend. Youth from both the Baptist and Methodist churches would gather with their friends from college at Pete and June's house. June's mother was a good cook. The youth would eat good food, play games and party on Scott's lawn.

Tears running down her cheeks, June said Scott had died at age 57 of a malignant brain tumor.

June is a definite brunette. In her shop one day she watched the process as another hair dresser bleached her client's hair to striking blonde. June liked what she saw. She asked the hairdresser to change her hair to blonde.

After it was accomplished, she telephoned Pete, asking, "What if I come home as a blonde?"

Pete: "You'd better not come home as a blonde."

June: "Then where shall I go? I'm already a blonde."

Pete: "Well, come on home then."

June was a blonde for about four years and it was Pete who did the process rather than June having it done in the beauty shop.

June's first beauty shop in Delta was behind Crown Drug Store and called Crown Beauty Shop.

Later she named her shop the Orchid Room. Its last location was 463 Main Street. She decorated the Orchid Room in purple and white and bought uniforms for the hairdressers in three different styles, but all in purple and white.

Deava, a hairdresser who worked with June for a long time, also did the window displays at the Orchid Room. To June's delight, Deava is now the hairdresser at the salon at Crossroads.

People passing by would tap on the window at the Orchid Room, or stick their heads in the door to say hello.

June's uncle said to her, "I don't see how you get anything done, one hand waving at people on the street and one hand doing hair."

In 1995 Delta's mayor proclaimed Sept. 9, 1995, June Mills Day. In the proclamation there were three WHEREAS clauses giving the 50-year history of the location of June's beauty shop, then, "NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert W. Jay, Mayor of the City of Delta, Colorado, hereby proclaim Sept. 9, 1995 as June Mills Day in the City of Delta and encourage all our citizens to participate in the June Mills Day and congratulate June Mills on 50 years of service to her clients."

"I have been at Crossroads about four years," June said. "I love it here. I push a button and some pleasant staff member knocks, then opens the door and asks, "How can we help you, Miss June?" She finds the food to be very good.

"Irma Brisco plays dominos with me every night. We have all kinds of activities -- Bingo, Gotcha Ya, card games. Singers, musicians and other entertainers perform in our dining room for our enjoyment. We have worship services here on Sundays," June said.

Pastor James Conley of First Baptist in Delta comes to visit June.

Her daughter-in-law Faye Mills visits often, a favorite guest, and helps June with bookwork.

Friends and family take June out to restaurants in Delta, Olathe and Montrose. She said she goes out, not expecting to see anyone she knows, but always someone comes up to their table and says, "Hi, June."

June Mills, right, and Marcie Melvin, Activities Director at Crossroads, in front of June’s room as June leaves for lunch.
June Fergus and Pete Mills on their wedding day, Feb. 23, 1945.
June as a blonde.
A State Patrol officer followed June Mills for several miles one day, then stopped her to tell her he was giving her a Safety Driver’s Award. He later presented the certificate to June at her Orchid Room beauty shop.
Hairdressers from the Orchid Room on Main Street, Delta, from the left, Linda Nelson, June Mills and Viola Antal.
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