Home Main Category Obituaries Lafayette Loses Its Original Millie – Mildred M. “Millie” Harris Dies At...

Lafayette Loses Its Original Millie – Mildred M. “Millie” Harris Dies At 91

Mildred M. "Millie" Harris, with Craig Batchelder at the Surf Super in Gualala.

She started out waitressing in a town that embraced her kind attention and loving spirit, many of Lafayette’s pioneering families following her when she opened a “front room” restaurant of her own at 1018 Oak Hill Rd. – immediately churning out breakfasts and her trademark coffeecake for a loyal and hungry following.

Mildred M. Harris – “Millie” to all who knew and loved her – opened her heart and sometimes her cash drawer to the cops, high-schoolers, and breakfast seekers who waited on the porch of her homey restaurant for a shot at her waffles and bottomless cups of coffee.

So beloved did she come to be and so much a part of the fabric of the town did she become that a semi-official street sign was erected by local folk proclaiming her part of Oak Hill Rd. “Millie’s Kitchen Rd.”

Breakfast at her restaurant was breakfast with her, Millie making the rounds to make sure patrons were coffee’d up, calling her regular customers by name and using “hon” or “dear” for those she didn’t know but soon would.

True to her spirit, she worked at her job in coastal Gualala until suffering a fall while crossing Highway 1 – apparently on her way to work at the Surf Super Market in Gualala.

Graveside service at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Lafayette, Wed., Feb. 8th, 2017, at noon.


  1. When did she move to Gualala? So sad to hear this. My dad used to have breakfast business meetings there because of her coffee cake and attendance was always good!!!!! RIP dear soul….

    • Hey, Sabrina… our Dad did the same thing, calling breakfast meetings at Millie’s before hitting the highway. We don’t know when she moved north but we did see her in Gualala, at the Surf Market, and had a great chat. We’ll miss her, too.

  2. This has been an awful month so far. She was as critical to the operation of the town as any elected official. Used to eat there at least once a week. More if possible….. or hungover. God bless…

  3. Millie was a wonderful lady. I was close friends with her son Allen. She let me work on week ends in her restaurant which used to be next to the Park Theatre when I was only 14. Even back then there was a line out the door. We were on a first name basis with most of the customers. They would even get up and lend a hand when we were really busy. It was a wonderful experience for a young girl. Millie’s son Allen died when I was sixteen. Now she’s with him in heaven. They just don’t make them like Millie anymore. I was lucky to know her.😊

  4. I didn’t know about her son but it explains so much. She was always so interested in young people — the boys in particular. Now I know why. What a woman.

  5. All these people, working all their lives, walking among us, with personal tragedies kept deep in their hearts. May her god accept her and hold her close.

  6. I never knew her real name until today. But we seemed to connect and Millie always worked just fine. She called me May Belle and she always stopped to talk about my family. God Bless, Millie.

    • Hey, Linsey. From time to time – and it’s fun when it happens. In this case a grand daughter hoping to fill some gaps in the family history…

  7. Funny how your “little” stories end up being your biggest stories….. and how the “little” people can touch so many lives.

    • @Tim – couldn’t agree more, Tim. It is established journalistic tradition that the “bombshell” stories often fall flat, whereas the little stories you mention tend to capture public imagination and, in this case, give readers a chance to express their affection for the person in question. The maxim has been borne out so often we tend to treat each person – waitress, cabbie, doorman – with the same respect usually reserved for senators and ex-presidents. (And it was a bonus for us to get members of Millie’s family in touch with those who knew her well.)

  8. Millie was such a dear, sweet lady. I will always remember her cooking in the kitchen with her fuzzy slippers on. Rest in peace Millie…

  9. @Chris N. – Believe current owner Eva Clement put on the apron and has been watching over the kitchen since 2014? Eva? Set us straight…

    • We were very sorry to see that. Our deepest condolences and best wishes for you and your family. Our obituary pages are also open to you, of course, should you wish to utilize them. Be well…

  10. Millie was my Godmother after my mom, brother and I ate there every day for years. As my Mom likes to say, “my kids grew up on Millie’s chili.” So many stories, I am hoping to see many of you at the memorial service tomorrow at noon.

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