In Memoriam: James Mitchell


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death of retiree James Mitchell on October 19, at Falmouth Hospital. He was 89.

Jim was born in Crothersville, Jackson County, Indiana, to Fred Crim Mitchell and Lena Leota Henderson. At age 14, in the midst of the Great Depression, he hitchhiked alone to Wilmington, Delaware, to live with his older sister Virginia. While working his way through two years of college, he met Gertrude Boyer and they married in 1941.

Jim began his career at WHOI in 1959 as an administrative assistant to director Paul Fye.  In 1966 he became facilities manager and retired in 1984.  From March 1984 to December 1984, he served as a facilities consultant on a casual basis.

Prior to his career at WHOI, Jim served in the US Navy from 1942 to 1946 as a machinist’s mate, second class, and the Naval Reserve from 1946 to 1953 as a yeoman, second class. Thereafter, he worked as a civilian employee for the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in Washington, DC.

Jim and his wife Gertrude traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada by RV, visiting all of the lower 48 states and Alaska and most of the Canadian provinces. In later years, they wintered in their Montverde, Florida, home. He also liked to garden and do woodworking.

Jim and Gertrude were married for 67 years at the time of her death in August 2008. He is survived by his sister, Virginia Caffrey of Delaware; three sons, David S. Mitchell of Sandwich, Mark A. Mitchell and Jonathan E. Mitchell, both of East Falmouth; four daughters, Anne-Marie Michael of Georgia, Emilie K. Gables of Pennsylvania, Ramie A. Mitchell of Centerville, and Sheridan H. Turner of Idaho; along with 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Jim will be interred in the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne. Services will be private. A memorial service will be held on Monday, November 23, at 1:00 p.m. at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.

Some of this information was taken from the Falmouth Enterprise.


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