Lewis E. (“Mitch”) Mitchell passed away at Scott County Hospital on September 22, 2015, as the result of pneumonia and lymphoma. He was born on November 28, 1924, in Dodge City, Kansas, and was the oldest son of Walter C. and Myrna Cleo Henderson Mitchell.
Mitch married Donis C. Hughes on August 13, 1949, and they celebrated their 66th anniversary this past August. Mitch is survived by his wife Donis, his four children—Meredith Mitchell of San Francisco, California; Marc Mitchell of Lawrence, Kansas; Melanie and her husband Stephen Key of Providence, Rhode Island; and Marci and her husband John Duys and his granddaughter Catie Duys, all of San Anselmo, California.
When Mitch was five, his family moved to Ingalls, Kansas, and Mitch graduated from Ingalls High School and started the University of Kansas in 1942, where he was a member of the Delta Chi fraternity. After that first year, Mitch enlisted in the army at the age of 18. He was anxious to serve and fully expected to be in the infantry. However, he was assigned to the 445th Ordinance HAM Company and ended up serving 20-30 miles behind the front lines in France and Germany, where his unit serviced and repaired heavy trucks and equipment. After the war, Mitch played the string bass with a military dance band that toured all over Europe playing American big band music for the soldiers who were still serving overseas. The band was invited to play on Armed Forces Network, and were joined by a singer named Joe Bari, who later changed his name to Tony Bennett. Mitch’s written recollections of the war said that his personal experience was generally positive, and “The most important thing n my mind was to do what I could to help win the war.”
Mitch’s parents moved to Scott City, and while visiting them after his discharge in Ft. Leavenworth, his sister took him to the high school May Fete where he first met Donis Hughes. Their courtship continued after Mitch returned to the University of Kansas and Donis enrolled at Stephens Women’s College in Columbia, Missouri. They married in 1949 and returned to Lawrence, where Mitch completed his degree in mechanical engineering.
Mitch and Donis returned to Scott City, and have lived there ever since. They farmed south of Scott City for many years and raised their family. In 1972, Mitch began a new career as the General Manager of Wheatland Electric Cooperative, where he worked until his retirement in 1990. He also served as president of the Sunflower board for 12 years, and was involved in building a coal-fired generating plant in Holcomb, Kansas.
Mitch was a member of the United Methodist Church, the Lions Club, the Masons, and the Scott City Investment Club. He also served his community by working with the County to develop a solid waste management plan and as chairman of the board of the First National Bank.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Carroll.
Funeral services will be held at the United Methodist Church at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, September 25, 2015 with Pastor John Lewis presiding. Interment will be in the Scott County Cemetery in Scott City, Kansas. Visitation will be from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Thursday at Price & Sons Funeral Home in Scott City, Kansas. Memorials in Lieu Of Flowers may be given to Scott County Hospital in gratitude for the wonderful care given to Mitch and his family by many members of the staff during his illness or to the United Methodist Church in Scott City, Kansas.