A Life of Theosophical Service: A Tribute to Joy Mills (1920 - 2015)

"Please say the following about me: 'She tried to live as a true Theosophist and to help others to discover the magnificent glory of Theosophy in the fullest meaning of that word.'" Joy Mills

Dear fellow members of the TS and TOS around the world,

As many of you know, on December 29, 2015, Joy Mills, former Vice-President of the Theosophical Society (TS), passed away in her residence at the Krotona Institute of Theosophy in Ojai, California, USA, in her 96th year. Joy lived a life full of purpose, one entirely dedicated to the promulgation of Theosophy. An outstanding administrator, scholar, teacher and writer, as well as friend to countless TS members around the world, she was truly an example of selfless service for each of us. A full account of Joy's life is available on the Theosophy Wiki website here. A memorial service will be held at Krotona on Sunday, January 24 at 3 PM PST (11 PM GMT).

Joy was a member of the Theosophical Order of Service for decades. Please enjoy our special tribute to her here. It features some of her most perceptive and helpful writings on the subject of service. All of these articles are to be found on the TOS International website and were originally chosen for their relevance for TOS workers. We hope they will inspire you to follow her example and continue her legacy in your own way. May her life be an inspiration to us all.

Nancy Secrest

Reflections on Joy by Dorothy Bell

In 2004 Dorothy Bell attended a School of the Wisdom in Adyar where Joy was Director of Studies. A friendship quickly developed and regular visits to Krotona ensued. Here Dorothy offers a personal perspective on Joy and her service. Read more.

“I wish that my friends know that I love them and that I do not fear death — it is not the end, but a new beginning for me.” Joy Mills

Thoughts on the TOS – An Interview with Joy

On the occasion of Joy Mills’ 90th birthday, the International TOS interviewed her about her experiences in the TOS. As Joy puts it, “In one way, I never felt a distinction between working for the TS and doing something for the TOS, one just flowed into the other, the one being just a natural outgrowth of the other, if I can put it that way.” Read more.

A Divine Lunacy

"What role may the theosophical server play in furthering understanding among peoples and nations?" On the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations, Joy notes the waves of senseless violence, nationalism, religious fundamentalism and disparity between rich and poor that threaten to drown out the voice of tolerance in our world. In the face of such overwhelming odds, Joy suggests the one action in which every Theosophist is called to engage. Read more.

Joy with Mahatma Letters at the British Museum

The Courage of Commitment

"Precisely because the theosophical philosophy presents us with a panoramic view of life...we may often feel inclined to retreat into the security of a philosophical cave of speculation rather than confront the actualities of existence in terms of a positive commitment to action." Joy placed great emphasis on the importance of action in the life of every Theosophist and server. Read more.


Joy teaching The Secret Doctrine at Krotona


Brotherhood: A Forgotten Object?

In this article Joy discusses the subject of civil rights and political unrest in the United States and her thoughts on whether Theosophists should engage in social and political reform. Read more.

The Possible and the Necessary

"There is, of course, a vast difference between letting things happen and making them happen. It is essentially the difference between following the path of hope and choosing to walk the road of risk." In this article, Joy challenges us to commit ourselves completely to achieving not just what is possible, but what is necessary, to benefit mankind.  Read more

“I wish for my friends to think about what I was like before I became ill and to remember me in this way. I wish for them to look at my dying as a time of personal growth for everyone, including me. I want memories of my life to give my friends joy and not sorrow.” Joy Mills

Long-time Theosophist and friend John Kern and Joy at a Summer National Convention of the TS in America

Joy Mills with close friend and colleague Virginia Hanson

A Stroll Down Memory Lane...

On the occasion of the release of Joy's book Reflections on an Ageless Wisdom, Dorothy Bell and Renee Sell engaged in a mad-cap plan to raise funds for the TOS by having an inscribed and autographed copy raffled at the 2010 Convention of the TS in New Zealand.

In the same issue, the TOS congratulates Joy on receiving the Subba Row Medal in honour of her extensive contribution to Theosophical literature. Click here to read more.

Joy with the Ojai TOS Group in 2010

Joy with Michael Gomes and Tim Boyd at the 2012 Summer National Convention of the TS in America

We thank you for your service, Joy. May the Light of the Master illumine your path and the wings of his Love enfold you forever!

TOS International extends gratitude to all the photographers of Joy over the years.

This newsletter is a publication of the Theosophical Order of Service. Contact address: nancy.tosinternational@gmail.com.