Donald Mitchell, age 94, of Niles, Michigan; husband, father, grandfather, interior decorator, honorable Veteran, and avid reader died peacefully at 7:17 a.m. on Saturday, February 25, 2023 with family gathered at his side in Memorial Hospital, South Bend, Indiana following a brief illness.
Don was born on December 16, 1928 in Lawton, Michigan to Clyde M. and Tressa V. (Stanard) Mitchell and graduated from Lawton High School. He began to work on the McGrath Farms in Benton Harbor before enlisting in the United States Army. He served in the Headquarters of the 1st Battalion 2nd Armored Cavalry in Germany, and re-enlisted for an additional 3 years. He was Honorably Discharged as a Corporal and a Veteran of the Korean Conflict. He returned from the service to his Clay Street home in Niles, and was employed at the Michigan Bell Telephone Company.
While at Michigan Bell, Don began to do side jobs in house painting and wallpapering. As his reputation for high quality interior decorating grew, he went full-time as Don Mitchell Decorating and developed a reputation as a quality craftsman in his trade, specializing in new homes in the greater South Bend/Granger area.
Don was a longtime member of Saint John’s United Church of Christ in Niles. When his children were playing Little League baseball he began as a volunteer coach, gradually establishing a winning record, and continued his coaching career after his own children had aged-out. In his spare time, he enjoyed fishing off the pier in Saint Joseph, Michigan, reading the “one-a-day” 30 monthly articles of the Reader’s Digest magazine and watching John Wayne movies. His greatest interest and priority was his family.
On September 1, 1953 Don married the former Carol Elaine Mann in Corinth, Mississippi. Last year they celebrated the remarkable Sixty-ninth anniversary of their wedding.
He was sadly preceded in death by two grandchildren, Donald Mitchell III and Victoria Page Mitchell; and a great-grandchild, Anthonyissac Lee Eaton. He was also preceded in death by his parents and twelve siblings.
Surviving family includes his wife, Carol Mitchell and their children, Donald (& Renee) Mitchell, Jr. of Lawton, Faith (& Earl) Biggs of Plant City, Florida, Bradford Mitchell of Cassopolis, Michigan, Wendy (& Dave) Stayton of Oldsmar, Florida, Lisa (& Doug) Eaton of Mishawaka, Indiana, Laurie Yeung of Kokomo, Indiana, Brett Mitchell of Niles, Toby Mitchell, D.C. of Granger, and Caroline (& Kenneth) Hall of Las Vegas, Nevada; 39 grandchildren and 38 great-grandchildren; and Don’s brother, Jim Mitchell of Flint, Michigan, and many nieces and nephews.
The Funeral Service for Donald Mitchell will be at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 2, 2023 at Saint John’s United Church of Christ, 601 Sycamore Street in Niles with the Rev. Benjamin Fisher of the church officiating. The family will receive relatives and friends at the church before the service beginning at 9:00 a.m. Committal Rites will be at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan with Full Military Honors rendered by the United States Army Honor Guard, assisted by the Fort Custer Volunteer Veteran Honor Guard.
The services will be available online on the Halbritter-Wickens Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/halbritterwickensfuneralservices/ .
Contributions in memory of Donald Mitchell my be made to his favorite charity, Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital; 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, Tennessee, 38105, https://www.stjude.org/ ; or for a memorial brick at the Niles Riverfront Veteran’s Memorial, c/o Niles City Hall; 333 North Second Street, Niles, Michigan, 49120, https://www.nilesmi.org/community/events_information/veterans_memorial_dedication.php . Online condolences may be left at:
Don clearly enjoyed life, understood the beauty of colors and textures, and mastered the techniques needed to use them. He also understood the unique qualities of the people around him including his clientele, his ballplayers, all of his children, and their children, and most importantly, his wife Carol. All evidence of fulfilling the command to Love God and Love People.