Millie Jones had a saying that had her friends and family likening her to “Wonder Woman.” She would say, “I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.”
Jones, of East Meadow, was diagnosed with breast cancer at 50, roughly 13 years ago. She underwent chemotherapy and additional treatments, had a double mastectomy and took medication for five years when she went into remission.
Then, in March 2017, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After two months, it developed into a Stage IV illness and spread to her liver. Her condition worsened over the summer, developing into an infection.
Jones died on Sept. 23 at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia, surrounded by friends and family who sang her favorite songs and shared stories with her in her last moments. She was 63.
“She went just the way she lived,” said her daughter Cassie, 33. “She went on her own time . . . and there wasn’t anything that was left unsaid. Everyone made sure to let her know how much they loved her.”
Jones philanthropy was seen throughout her life. She worked with the Girl Scouts of America, Make a Wish Foundation, American Cancer Society and East Meadow Kiwanis.
One of the programs she and her family were involved with was running the holiday party at the pediatric department of Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow.
Cassie said that her mother did not care about “material possessions or fancy clothes,” but preferred to focus her life on experiences. This led her to wear many hats and explore different endeavors with the people she loved.
Jones spent time as a model for Barbizon Modeling and Acting School, took ballroom classes with her husband David Jones, took karate classes with her family, took dance classes with Cassie for almost a decade, was a Sunday school teacher at East Meadow United Methodist Church, was a stage mom when Cassie acted in the church’s plays and one of her greatest passions was bowling. She continued to bowl until she became too sick to lift heavy, Cassie said.
“She was always involved in everything,” Cassie said. “She was everywhere, she never missed a single thing. That was really important to her.”
Jones was born in 1956 in the Bronx to her parents Anthony and June Uzzi. She moved to Amityville, where she went to Amityville High School and graduated in 1974.
Cassie said that her mom was a role model to her siblings and, when the family faced economic hardship, she worked at bakery and pizzeria to help buy food and clothes for them, while also taking cosmetology classes.
On graduating, she worked at a Pathmark in Levittown where she met David, who was a stock boy. The two married on Sept. 11, 1976 and moved to Merrick before East Meadow, when they had their daughter Cassie in 1987.
Jones worked for the Bank of New York, which merged with Chase, before working with First National Bank of Long Island in 2009. She continued working with them, even in the throes of her illness, because she loved it there. “They were like a family to her,” Cassie said.
David worked for Mid Island Collision in Rockville Centre for roughly 40 years before leaving his job last October to spend time with her.
Jones was the president of the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce in 2012 and was a member of over 15 years who took part in many of its community engagement programs. She was also a member of Kiwanis Club of East Meadow and the Sons of Italy.
“Over the years Millie’s shoulders were always the ones to cry on, not the other way around, even when she wasn’t feeling well,” wrote Frank Camarano, the chamber’s Board Chairman, in a letter to chamber members. “ . . . For her it was about what was going on with you, how were you feeling and if there was anything she could do to help.”
Jones earned the Town of Hempstead Pathfinder Award in 2018. She received the chamber’s David Rothbaum Silver Fox Award, was named a Nassau County Trailblazer and was voted a Nassau County Woman of Distinction in 2013.
"The comfort of having a friend may be taken away, but not that of having had one,” said Dolores Rome, who was close friends with Jones and nominated her for the Pathfinder Award.
Jones is predeceased by father Anthony. In addition to her husband David and daughter Cassie, she is survived by her mother June Uzzi; two sisters, Annie and Rosie; three younger brothers, Robert, Joey and Anthony Jr., her son Matthew, and 13 nieces and nephews.
Matthew works for an engineering company called Electric Bulk and as a mechanical engineer for the U.S. Navy. For the past two years, Cassie took care of Millie while working on her art career. She is a body painter for Manhattan-based Tryon Entertainment, used to own a tattoo shop, works for Isabella’s Creations cake company in Brooklyn, and face paints with charity Operation Birthday Party. Her artwork will be on display at Spotlight in Huntington on Nov. 7, which will be a dedication to her mother.