Thank You Mr. Mitchell

How often are you blessed by the opportunity to meet someone that shapes the way you think for the rest of your life? How often does your life lead you down a path that parallels another which impacts you forever? How often does this happen around the same time you learn to ride a bike?

I grew up in Boulder City, Nevada, the home of Hoover Dam. It didn’t get any smaller, or better, than growing up in Boulder City. I started kindergarten with many of the same people I graduated high school with, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world. Especially in today’s world.

Many, many, years ago, they built a new elementary school in our town. The fact they built the school might not be a big deal, but the man they named it after sure was.

Andrew J. Mitchell was the principal of our small school, and the new school down the road was named in his honor. I didn’t get to know Mr. Mitchell very well while attending elementary school, in fact, I think I spoke to him more in my high school years than I ever did while a student at his school.

He made quite the impression sitting on his white horse as he led us in a parade of sorts, pulling our wagons filled with school supplies, through town to our new school. Our community was outgrowing our old school, and the new school was bigger and classier. Just like Mr. Mitchell.

Although he was our principal, he was also our friend, our mentor, and our pal.

On May 30, Mr. Mitchell, the man who made such an impact on my life, on so many lives, passed away.

Andrew Jackson Mitchell, a true scholar and gentleman, returned peacefully to his Heavenly Father early Sunday morning, May 30, 2010, at the age of 91. He was born July 7, 1918, to Andrew J. and Mary A. (Snyder) Mitchell in Albuquerque, N.M.

After graduating from High School in Flagstaff, he attended Arizona State University where he met his life companion and sweetheart “Mimi,” Mabel McKnight of Beaver Dam, Ariz. They were married on May 13, 1939. The couple recently celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary at their Sterling Court residence. Both Andrew and Mabel were educators who mentored students in Bunkerville and Boulder City, Nev.

I’ll never forget how special it was growing up in Boulder City, and I’ll never forget the people like Mr. Mitchell who made it that way.

Rest In Peace, Mr. Mitchell, and thank you.