Viaduct crash kills West Seattle musician, therapist Lisa Mills

Family and friends around West Seattle and beyond are mourning 48-year-old Lisa Mills, the motorcycle rider killed in the crash that closed southbound Highway 99 for hours last Sunday night. We are reporting her name now that the county Medical Examiner has finally formally released it. Ms. Mills, who lived in Sunrise Heights with her wife, was well-known as lead singer of Swamp Mama Johnson, a Northwest-based band that was popular in the ’90s (see a 1997 clip here).

She worked as a hypnotherapist and life coach, with her own business, Heliotrope Hypnosis Services. A friend shared the photo at left, showing Ms. Mills with her dog Ruby, who until Ruby’s recent death assisted her in volunteer therapy work, according to her website. Another friend of Ms. Mills tells us she also was studying to become a mixologist, adding, “Lisa lived life to the fullest and loved riding her motorcycle with her friends.” The preliminary report from Seattle Police says investigators think she “failed to negotiate a curve” at the Viaduct’s south end.

We have no information yet on a celebration of life or memorial fund, but have asked friends who contacted us to please let us know if and when those details become available, so that we can share it with the WSB community. (This mention on a news site in Bellingham, where Swamp Mama Johnson often played, says memorials will likely be held there and in Seattle.)

27 Replies to "Viaduct crash kills West Seattle musician, therapist Lisa Mills"

  • WSratsinacage April 4, 2012 (12:38 pm)

    So sad. My thoughts and prayers go out to Ms Mills and those who loved her. I did not know her but after reading the above, she left the world a better place. Peace.

  • monroe1200 April 4, 2012 (2:07 pm)

    Loved to listen to the Swamp Mama Johnsons back in the day! They were a great band, so sorry to hear this sad news. RIP Lisa

  • homedk April 4, 2012 (2:26 pm)

    So sad to hear this. I didn’t know her personally, but I remember the first time I heard her sing & it stopped me in my tracks. I always enjoy playing our Swamp Mama Johnson albums & hearing her wonderful voice. Our condolences to her wife, family & friends.

  • Philip April 4, 2012 (5:10 pm)

    I personally didnt know her, But as a fellow Motorcyclist it is always sad to here a fellow rder was killed. My thoughts and prayer to the family and RIP Lisa. You can now ride in a better place.

  • Deanna April 4, 2012 (5:36 pm)

    I am so sorry for your loss. Many blessings to friends & family for healing! Lisa will truly be missed by all who knew her and all that enjoyed her incredible music! Such a beautiful light to be taken so soon! May she ride in the wind with her beloved companion Ruby.

  • Deb Seymour April 4, 2012 (7:04 pm)

    The passing of Lisa Mills will leave gaping holes in the Seattle music, motorcycle, hypnotherapy and so many other communities. This woman was an incredible singer, healer and knew how to make you laugh your pants off. RIP Lisa. You will be missed by so many…

  • Melissa Valette April 4, 2012 (8:30 pm)

    She seems like such fun and beautiful person… Alicia, family, and friends that lost this beautiful women our family is praying and thinking about you lots during this time…

  • tracey parker April 4, 2012 (9:00 pm)

    Lisa was one of the few neighbours that made an impression on me during my 6 years in sunrise heights. Ruby and Lisa were unforgettable together and together again.

    Tracey and Chica

  • Julie April 4, 2012 (9:49 pm)

    Rest In Peace now Lisa..Your work here on earth is done…I pray that your family and friends will be wrapped tightly with God’s loving arms!

  • TomK April 4, 2012 (10:46 pm)

    Lisa has been my friend since we went to high school together in Tacoma. She was an amazing person and her passing leaves a hole in my heart. The world has lost a truly beautiful soul. Rest well my friend.

  • grace April 4, 2012 (11:06 pm)

    Thoughts and prayers for the family. Lisa was a very kind person and will be missed. Rest in peace..

  • Jon C. April 5, 2012 (1:15 am)

    I met Lisa in 9th grade, and from the beginning we bonded and shared an incredible friendship that lasted through high school and beyond. She had an amazing soul, incredible intuition, and a beautiful, loving, caring personality. She was one of the few people I knew who truly “got” me. Rest In Peace, my friend, and know that this “crazy greek” will always cherish those memories. You will be missed terribly and always loved greatly.

  • Lee Haworth April 5, 2012 (3:34 am)

    I was a Swamp Mama Johnson Band fan and it is my favorite band ever! Lisa was an awesome person with a fantastic sense of humor and extremely kind and caring. I was forever hoping that the band would get together again. My condolences to Lisa’s family. I still listen to SMJ!

  • DeeAnn G. April 5, 2012 (5:08 am)

    Amazing talent, perfect pitch, incredible person. I will always remember that from high school. She left us too soon. What a hole this will leave in our 30 year reunion. Dear Lisa, rest in peace with your beloved Ruby doggy!

  • JIll Pagano April 5, 2012 (9:31 am)

    Lisa and I were part of a woman’s solopreneur networking group here in West Seattle. She was a beautiful woman…super witty with a spark of good nature, integrity and transparency. And damn she was funny and apparently very handy with tools. Sending love to her family, her wife and all who loved ones. May she be frolicking with her beloved pet.

  • el Colonel April 5, 2012 (12:08 pm)

    RIP Lisa….you were a great performer, and thanks for co-producing my Cd “Colonel and doubleshot Live w/ Polly O’Keary”…..God Bless…el C….

  • Joni April 5, 2012 (12:30 pm)

    I am heart-broken. SMJ appeared and performed at many a “dancing room only” crowd at the JFFA in Port Angeles. I followed them, attending many festivals just to groove in the good vibes and tunes. Lisa – you will be missed by so many. Jam on, soul sister.

  • sister Marla April 5, 2012 (5:46 pm)

    The most incredible being that ever graced this planet EVER!! I always felt like we are twins
    ( shes the good one). I’m sorry people, but my sister is not going to rest in peace. No way! She is exploring where she is at and continuing like the rock star she is. HOORAH Lisa!!!

  • Ra-chan April 5, 2012 (7:41 pm)

    I was totally shocked to just read this. When I first moved to Seattle, I sought out Lisa’s hypnotherapy services. I really liked her and got the sense that she was a kind, cool, and really engaged person, and I sometimes thought about her after I stopped seeing her. Very sad to hear this, RIP.

  • Laura Love April 5, 2012 (11:44 pm)

    Farewell dear Lisa. Our paths crossed over the years and whenever we spoke I was drawn to your kindness and intellect and talent. It is with great sadness that I read of your departure from this mortal coil. You will ever be in our hearts and minds as a gentle, loving, caring soul who improved the world she lived in. I am certain that Ruby leapt joyously into your loving arms when you arrived to join her in the afterlife. We will see you by and by friend. Laura Love

  • Amy April 6, 2012 (6:29 pm)

    There is a public wake rock and roll style at the Hard Rock Cafe Tuesday April 10th at 7:00. Several bands and musicians whose lives were blessed by being friends with Lisa will be playing including Swamp Mama Johnson. I knew her and she would be stoked if we all came down to celebrate what she did best – living life to the fullest.

  • Kemila April 6, 2012 (9:53 pm)

    I don’t know Lisa but I heard the news today as I’m a hypnotherapist too and we belong to the the association. So coincidental I just came back from Bellingham today and I read the news. She looked so full of life in the photo.

  • Genjo Marinello April 7, 2012 (10:02 pm)

    Lisa served as a carpenter and plumber at our residential practice center the week before this tragedy. What a fine worker and skilled communicator. I was hoping she would be in our lives for many years to come. This Sunday, which happens to be both Easter and the Buddha’s Birthday, our Zen temple and Practice Center will chant a dedication supporting Lisa’s bodily departure at 5AM.

  • AE April 8, 2012 (6:55 am)

    Hi, and thanks very much for all the condolences (from a friend of Lisa’s). And especially for the dedication on Sunday.
    The Hard Rock is actually NOT a public event, though. If you knew Lisa and are just finding out about this now, please contact a mutual friend or a family member if you’d like to go. You can contact me at if you don’t know any mutual friends.

  • Andy Badd Dog April 10, 2012 (1:43 am)

    Such a shock and a loss. Lisa was an inspiration to many, myself included. She and her band made a good name for the Blues. She will be greatly missed.

  • Linda Hackett April 11, 2012 (7:00 pm)

    Such shocking news. I will never forget the good times that Cara and I shared with the band while in British Columbia. RIP Lisa. I loved your voice and your personality. You will be sadly missed by many.


  • Cara Cooper April 13, 2012 (10:39 am)

    The worst news ever. Linda and I spent many fun water sport times with all of Swamp Mama, we ate alot of really good food together too! So great that Lisa was a therapist- she was always after me to embrace my geekness! See you in that Chezzy Bits pub in the sky Lisa_ You are much loved and honored! Cara Cooper BC Canada

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