He was placing together the border for a 1,000 piece puzzle entitled “Pacific Grove, California,” while sitting at a front table by the entrance of the home. Beside that puzzle was one he just completed that depicts eagles swooping down and clutching a fish out of the calm waters of a beautiful forest lake. Next to the table, seven or eight boxes of un-assembled puzzles were stacked on top of the other.
They call him “The Puzzle Master,” a fitting name for the English Village Manor resident, Raymond Mills, 71, who has produced a collection of 83 framed jigsaw puzzles that now adorn the hallways of the assisted living facility. One of the nurses aids said that the he completes two or three puzzles each week. In the last year and a half he has completed more than 100. Some of them are sealed and framed for free by friend Joanne Roberts.
Mills, a retired truck driver from Southwest Ready Mix, smiled and said “hello,” and then paused from his work to show off his collection with his “assistant,” Activities Director Debbie Aguirre.
On Monday, May 5, the English Village Manor held an open house for the public to view his puzzles.
“People were allowed in to tour the halls and see his work,” Aguirre said. “Sixteen of his puzzles were purchased.”
Mills added, “It was good, and fun, and I enjoyed the attention.”
Aguirre said that although Mills only has mobility in his left arm, he is able to finish quickly by starting with the boarder, and then focusing on one section at a time. He picked up the hobby only a few years ago and has become one of his favorite activities.
After showing off his favorite puzzle, the Master went right back to combing through a box of scattered cutout shapes to finish the scenic “Pacific Grove.”