John Robert Mills, 80, passed away on December 24, 2018 in São Paulo. Beloved husband of Monica, father of Lawrence, Robert and Charles, and grandfather of Georgia, Nicholas, Alissa, Daphne, Chelsea, Emily and Oliver. Born on May 13th, 1938 in Vigo, Spain, of English and Basque heritage, he studied in Lima, Peru, and at Downside, in Somerset, before settling in São Paulo in 1967.
John arrived in Brazil while working for Atlantis (currently Reckitt Benckiser) transferred from Lima and almost immediately joined SPAC, dedicating himself to the club for over 40 years. An avid football fan and practitioner of the sport, he played for the club until he was 60, always a gentleman in and outside the field.
Later on, he applied himself to writing about the history of football in Brazil, researching Charles Miller, the ‘father of Brazilian football’ and the origins of the sport in the country, in 1894. His research work resulted in two published books on the subject, as well as numerous TV and radio interviews as a specialist on the subject, and admiration from sports specialists in the country and abroad.
His historical studies formed the basis for the Marcos do Futebol project, which defines important spaces and moments in São Paulo’s football history and was carried out with the Museu do Futebol.
John worked for Semco/Evapco for over 30 years, until the time of his death — he worked in marketing and sales all his life and enjoyed the opportunities to travel this afforded him.
A history and geography enthusiast, visiting new places in Brazil and abroad was a great source of joy in his life, and led, among other things, to a trip to South Africa during the 2010 World Cup at the invitation of the Secretaria da Cultura to deliver a lecture on Charles Miller and football in Brazil.
John was a constant and steady presence in the British Community in São Paulo, especially at SPAC, where he has worn many hats, such as Councillor, Vice president, and Sports Director.
He was also a staunch supporter of the Carajás Scout Group, to which his three sons, two of his daughters-in-law, and two of his grandchildren belonged.
His enthusiasm, warmth, and eternal curiosity will be missed by his family and a multitude of friends and colleagues.