Sue V. Mills, 69, a former Prince George's County Council member and school board chairman who had a reputation as a fiery orator and flamboyant politician, died of pancreatitis Sept. 23 at her home in Clinton.
Mrs. Mills, a Democrat, was elected to the council in 1978 as an at-large member. She then was elected to three consecutive four-year terms as a representative of District 8, which included communities in the southern part of the county such as Oxon Hill, Camp Springs, Clinton, Forest Heights and sections of Hillcrest Heights and Fort Washington.
Over the years, her jurisdiction changed from a mostly white region into one with a majority of black residents.
Known as independent-minded and a lone dissenter on the council, she became something of a local fixture, voicing the concerns of the downtrodden while building solid support among her constituents.
She served on the council's Health, Education and Human Services and Housing, Transportation and Environment committees.
Her sense of style drew a lot of attention. She wore her trademark blond hair in a beehive and sported radiant, color-coordinated outfits.
In 1994, her final year on the council, she ran for county executive in a race won by Wayne K. Curry. Mrs. Mills had since worked as a real estate agent for Century 21 New Millennium in Dunkirk.
Mrs. Mills was born in Streator, Ill., and raised in Oxon Hill, and her father served as a priest at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church.
She graduated from Oxon Hill High School in 1953 and for a time attended the University of Maryland.
In the 1950s, she became increasingly involved in the Oxon Hill Democratic Club and volunteered on political campaigns. She once shook hands with then-Sen. John F. Kennedy at a political rally at Montgomery Blair High School in 1960.
She served as clerk of the Prince George's County elections office before being appointed by the governor to the county's school board in the early 1970s. When school board seats were changed to elective positions, Mrs. Miller was elected in 1974. She served as the school board chairwoman the next year.
At that time, she opposed busing, a stance her political opponents raised in later campaigns. She once said that she supported improving neighborhood schools instead of pouring resources into specialized magnet schools that were created to help bring racial balance to the system.
Survivors include her husband of 51 years, James E. Mills Jr. of Clinton; a daughter, Cynthia Bulka of Waldorf; a sister, Carla Rosenthal of Temple Hills; and a granddaughter.