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WZZM balloon pilot dies after fight with cancer

Douglas Mills piloted the WZZM Eyewitness balloon in the 1970s. He was 76.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A West Michigan veteran and talented hot air balloon pilot has died. 

Douglas Mills was born in Grand Rapids in 1945 and graduated from Ottawa Hills High School in 1964, according to his obituary.

Immediately after graduating, he was drafted into the US Army where he served in Vietnam. 

Mills was the chief pilot of Sky High Hot Air Balloons in Caledonia for more than 40 years, as well as the WZZM Eyewitness Balloon Pilot in the 1970s. 

Credit: WZZM

Mills passed away after a short fight with cancer on Sept. 24. Doug is preceded in death by his wife Karen. 

He was 76.

Credit: WZZM

Funeral services are set for Oct. 19 at the Caledonia Methodist Church. A memorial luncheon is scheduled immediately after at the Caledonia Legion Post 305.

Instead of flowers, you can make a memorial contribution to the Disabled American Veteran's (DAV) homeless initiative or the Ann Arbor Fisher House for Veterans. 

Credit: WZZM

View more of the WZZM hot air balloon footage from 1985, piloted by Doug Mills, here:

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