×

JA Snow Funeral Home

339 Lacewood Drive, Halifax, NS

OBITUARY

Helga Irene (Kutz-Harder) Mills

December 25, 1934November 1, 2019

One of this world’s amazing people, Helga Irene (Kutz-Harder) Mills, passed away on November 1, 2019 at the age of 84. She was born in 1934 in Kitchener, ON to Jacob and Sara Kutz.

Helga lived to a soundtrack of choral music, opera, Broadway show tunes, protest songs, symphony orchestras and, of course, Leonard Cohen. She also sang her heart out – in her school, church and community choirs, including the Orpheus Choir of Toronto. Helga had a passion for literature. She received an Honours B.A. (University of Western Ontario), her high school teaching certificate (Ontario College of Education), an M.A. in Canadian literature (University of BC) where she met her first husband, Bernie Harder, and her PhD in English Renaissance Literature (University of North Carolina). It was in North Carolina that Helga gave birth to her two daughters: Naomi in 1967 (d. 1988) and Ingrid in 1969. Helga also taught part-time at the University of Windsor and shared her love of travel and world issues with her family, teaching at the International Christian University in Japan. Helga’s passion for social justice and human rights led her to a second career with The United Church of Canada. She first served as program consultant for the church’s Division of Mission in Canada, Human Rights and Justice team, with responsibilities for immigration, refugees, criminal justice and aboriginal rights, and then served as executive secretary of the church’s Toronto Conference. Helga finished her career in Ontario as the principal of St. Paul’s College at the University of Waterloo. Through the church, Helga met the love of her life, Bob Mills, who was executive secretary of the Maritime Conference of the United Church in Sackville, NB. They married on July 1, 1995. They have shared many adventures and travelled the world. Retiring to Halifax to be near Bob’s family, they immersed themselves in the arts, church and community. Helga was invited to serve as interim principal of the Atlantic School of Theology, where she was also awarded an honorary doctorate. Helga was always open to new experiences. A lover of flowers and flower arranging, but with no painting experience, she discovered a talent for painting botanical art at the age of 75. Wanting to share her new-found passion, she helped found the Botanical Artists of Nova Scotia Association. Helga was predeceased by her parents, her daughter Naomi Harder, her brother Arthur Kutz and her sister Vera Baerg.

She is survived by her husband, Rev. Robert Mills, Halifax, daughter Ingrid Harder (Wellington, New Zealand), grandson Rory Harder (Peterborough, ON), her step-children Deborah (Jim) Ballinger-Mills, Halifax, Michael (Susan) Mills, Conquerall Bank, Stephen (Susan) Mills, Upper LaHave, David (Nancy) Mills, Halifax and Katrina Mills Pecknold, Halifax, nieces and nephews, step-grandchildren James, Julie, Kate, Kaitlynn, and Robert, cousins, and friends.

Visitation will be Monday, November 4, 2019 at St. Matthew’s United Church, in Halifax, from 11:00 am - 1:30 pm. Funeral, conducted by Rev. Betsy Hogan, at 2:00 pm at St. Matthew’s United Church with reception to follow. Burial will take place at a later date with family in Bridgewater, NS.

Services

  • Public Visitation Monday, November 4, 2019
  • Funeral Service & Reception Monday, November 4, 2019

Memories

Helga Irene (Kutz-Harder) Mills

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY
Michele Moore

November 8, 2019


What an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest - she was an inspiration to those who loved and admired her.

May cherished memories comfort you all.

Kind regards,
Michele Moore, Theatre Arts Guild, Halifax

Valerie Kingsbury

November 7, 2019

I was blessed by the awesomeness of Helga not long after my arrival in Nova Scotia. I shall forever hold in my being her smile that always warmed my heart; her genuine interest in life and her love for all. Over the years whenever we met there were hugs and conversation and the meeting of souls. She has certainly left her mark upon the Universe and the world is a better place because she lived.

Bob, you and Helga have always held a special place in my heart. Love and hugs. Valerie

Sue Ann Campbell

November 6, 2019

Dear Bob,

We were so sorry to hear the news. Helga will be sorely missed. We have many fond memories our time with you and Helga when you were in Waterloo and our visits since you moved to Halifax.

Thinking of you,

Sue Ann, Jay, Jackie and Claire

Fred Mather

November 6, 2019

Susan and I condolences to Bob and the family. We particularly remember Helga for her leadership at St Paul's College and Westminister United Church. Her passion and enthusiasm lives on.

Bruce Carter

November 6, 2019

Bob,
I remember the joy and humor that you and Helga shared with Westminster in Waterloo, how the two of you welcomed our whole family into the choir on our first visit. I remember Helga's open, inviting and loving personality. She is missed!

Bruce, Ingrid, Julie & Jeremy Carter

Dona Harvey

November 6, 2019

Dear Bob and family,
I was terribly saddened to learn in today's Globe of Helga's passing. It was a joy to know her, and to know that St. Paul's was in such good hands after Bill retired. We miss you here in Waterloo, and people at the college and Westminster remember both of you with affection.
Here is a copy of the announcement that I just circulated by email for the Westminster congregation. Our thoughts are very much with you with the loss of your beloved partner and soulmate.
With caring, Dona Harvey
Circulated to Westminster United Church, Waterloo: We are sad to report the passing of Helga Mills, who died last week at age 84 in Halifax. Helga and her husband Bob (the Rev. Robert) Mills were active members of Westminster during the last half of the 1990s. She replaced Bill Klassen as principal of St. Paul’s College at the University of Waterloo after Bill retired in 1994. Helga and Bob both served in various senior positions in the United Church of Canada. Helga was executive secretary of the Toronto Conference of the United Church, and Bob held a similar position with the Maritime Conference. They met through the church, and were married in 1995. After their time in Waterloo, Helga and Bob moved to Halifax. In ‘retirement,’ Helga served as interim principal of the Atlantic School of Theology, which subsequently awarded her an honorary doctorate. We extend our sincere condolences to Bob, and remember both of them with fondness and appreciation for their many gifts. Condolences may be sent to: www.jasnowfuneralhome.com

Paul Warder

November 6, 2019

Bob, we have many wonderful memories and you and Helga at Westminster and always enjoyed your visits when you were back in the area. Thinking of you and wishing you peace at this time.

Paul Warder and J.R. Leger

Don Murray

November 5, 2019

My dear Bob

So Helga has died. You and she were a couple made in heaven, as they say. Together you were more than the sum of the two of you. And now you are alone. Her spirit abides but her everyday presence is no longer with you. The rituals and actions that made up your life are not there. You had the gift of communion with her for 24 years. You have much to grieve and much for which to be thankful. She was one of the greats of our time. She has left her mark on many in many ways and in many places. And not least on your own life and soul.

Emily’s and my thoughts and prayers are with you. Our contemporaries are passing from us, and we are made the more aware of our approaching time. I believe we all participate in the Eternal and join “the great cloud of witnesses by which we are surrounded.”

No doubt the visitation and Life Celebration were a spiritually and emotionally strengthening time, even if physically draining.

Emily and I are sorry not to have been at St. Matthews with you and the many family and friends, and coworkers through the years, who would be there. We learned of Helga’s passing too late to get plans in place.

My brother Walter recently sent me a committal he had used at the burial of a friend.

Into the Darkness

Into the darkness and warmth of the earth
We lay you down
Into the sadness and smiles of our memories
We lay you down
Into the cycle of living and dying and rising again
We lay you down
May you rest in peace, in fulfillment, in love
May you run straight home into God’s embrace
Into the freedom of wind and sunshine
We let you go
Into the dance of the stars and planets
We let you go
Into the wind’s breath and the hands of the Starmaker
We let you go
We love you, we miss you, we want you to be happy
Go safely, go dancing, go singing home.

So we say farewell to a life well lived, a love widely and deeply shared, with Helga’s soul resonating with the music of the universe.

May you be surrounded with love and caring.

Don and Em

Ralph Taylor

November 5, 2019

Bob
Please accept my sympathy. Helga was a wonderful person and I appreciated working with her at 85 St. Clair, I am sure there are many great memories you and the family will carry into the future. Blessings on all. Ralph and Marilyn Taylor

john montgomerie

November 5, 2019

I regret, dear Bob, that I was unable to attend the service for Helga yesterday. Rest assured that I am saddened at this loss to our sense of humanity. What fun we all had with Pierre and his occasional musical journeys! My good friends Ray and Bertha have kept me informed on matters -next time I am in the city on a Sunday, I will be able to chat with you at St. Matthews. Until then, I extend much courage and strength to you.

FROM THE FAMILY