Deborah Regina Mills

Date of Birth

June 11, 1959

Date of Death

December 12, 2014

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Deborah was born June 11th, 1959 in New York to James and Mary Mills. She was raised as one of eight children, in Keyport, NJ. After high school, Deborah moved to Santa Barbara, CA with her best friend, JoAnne Laconte. There, she met her now former husband, Wonono Rubio, and they had 3 children, Amua, Neftali, and Maliya, who live in the Bay Area.

She earned her BA in Sociology at UCSB and later her MS in Social Work and Public Administration from Sacramento State. As a student, she attended the UN’s Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and, as part of a special delegation of women sent from CSUS, the UN’s 4th World Conference on Women in 1995.

After graduating from CSUS, she was the Executive Director at one of the oldest community centers in Sacramento, The Washington Neighborhood Center. She lead programs for youth and families and instituted an open community art wall, establishing a place for local graffiti artists to peacefully share their creative expression in a public format. In 2001 she moved back to Santa Barbara, where she lived for the rest of her life.

Deborah’s passions included community advocacy, dancing, singing, songwriting and playing the guitar. She loved to laugh, cook, eat and share each of these with family and friends. She had a beautiful smile and a magic that touched many lives along her journey. Deborah’s care for others and community service didn’t stop even when she became homeless in 2005.

We would like to express our gratitude to the incredible staff of Sara House for providing a place where Deborah could complete her journey surrounded by those who loved her and whom she loved. Deborah Mills passed away peacefully, with her daughters by her side, on the evening of December 12th, 2014. A celebration of her life is planned for 1pm on Saturday, 1/31/15, at the north end of Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara. For info please email her daughters at In lieu of flowers, please contribute to Sarah House,


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.