The City of Newport is mourning the loss of its long-time Habormaster, Timothy J. Mills, who passed away suddenly on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020.
Tim grew up on the water and began his career with the City as a seasonal Harbormaster’s Assistant from June 1995 through August 1999 before being appointed to serve as Newport’s full-time Harbormaster on February 12, 2001.
A consummate professional, Tim admirably served the City of Newport and the boating community at large with distinguished and dedicated service throughout the duration of his 25 years of service and received numerous letters of commendations for his work. “Tim’s loss is tragic on so many levels,” said City Manager Joseph J. Nicholson, Jr. “Beyond being an exemplary employee, he was a wonderful person on and off the water and he will be sadly missed. Our condolences go out to his family in this very difficult time.”
Tim’s legacy is and will forever been recognized for his work to improve and safeguard one of Newport’s most important and beloved assets: its harbor. Over the years, he spearheaded the development of the City’s Maritime Center, a new Harbormaster’s Office in Perrotti Park, and oversaw many marine related special events held in the City, including the Tall Ships and the annual Holiday Harbor Lights Parade where in 2001 he coveted the elusive top prize – “Best Decorated” vessel.
In addition to serving as the face of Newport Harbor for nearly 20 years, Tim was instrumental in helping to expand public access to the water through the revitalization of the City’s Anne Street Pier, the creation of the City’s popular seasonal dinghy rack network, and for assisting in the revision of the City’s mooring ordinance.
With a lifetime spent on the water, he had extensive experience in and on Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay, beginning his passion for the ocean in 1980 as a dock boy for the Goat Island Marina. Prior to joining the City, he operated his own business, Island Boat & Mooring Service, served aboard a NOAA ship, and earned a BA in Geography and Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island. Tim was also a certified scuba diver and held a Captain’s license.