Donald S. Mills, World Trade Center attack survivor, dies

By Bonnie L. Cook Philadelphia Inquirer

Donald Scott Mills, 70, of Newtown Square, a banker in Philadelphia and later New York City who was profoundly affected by the events of September 11, 2001, died Thursday, April 24, of complications from amyloidosis at his home.

Mr. Mills was working for JP Morgan Chase near the World Trade Center when terrorist hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 into the towers.

His daughter, Lindy, said her father first led his employees out of the bank building to safety, making sure everyone was accounted for, then went back to see how he could help.

“He made it home that day covered in soot,” his daughter said. He couldn’t talk about what he had seen.

From that day forward, Mr. Mills, always a loving family man, was keenly aware of the fragility of life. ” ‘I love you’ became part of every conversation, every time he’d hang up the phone and every time he’d leave the house,” his daughter said.

Mr. Mills began his 38-year career in the banking industry in Philadelphia. He signed on with Girard Bank in 1966, and worked in the Trust Department for 18 years before Girard merged with Mellon Bank. In 1984, he moved to Industrial Valley Bank (IVB) as trust department head. In 1987, Fidelity merged with IVB, and Mr. Mills was promoted to head of the personal trust department.

When Fidelity merged with First Fidelity, Mr. Mills was given the task of investigating possible branch sites in the area. The job entailed traveling several times a week to Newark, N.J., and elsewhere.

After First Union acquired First Fidelity, Mr. Mills left to work briefly for Merrill Lynch before accepting his final position in 1996 with JPMorgan Chase. His niche there was investment management.

For eight years, he commuted weekdays between Newtown Square and Manhattan.

“He had to get up at 4:30 every morning, and get to 30th Street and hop on the train. He did that every day, so his family didn’t have to move. He didn’t want our lives to be uprooted,” his daughter said. He retired in 2004.

Born in Wilkes-Barre, Mr. Mills graduated from Wyoming Seminary Preparatory School in 1962, and from Lafayette College in 1966. He earned his master’s of business administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1975, he married Linden Tucker Jeter. The two settled in Newtown Square to raise a family.

Mr. Mills was an avid outdoorsman who loved hunting, fishing, and walking with his dogs, Holly, a yellow Labrador retriever, and Buddy, a black lab. When they died at separate times several years ago, he was never the same, his daughter said.

He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta at Lafayette and a former member of Waynesborough Country Club.

Besides his wife, he is survived by daughters Lindy and Whitney, and two sisters.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 30, at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Ave. Burial is private.

Contributions may be made to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Pulmonary Medicine Dept., c/o Dr. Gregory Tino, 3400 Civic Center Blvd., Philadelphia 19104.

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