James Mitchell, 88 of West Chester, PA passed away Tuesday September 7, 2021at Belevedere Center Genesis Healthcare in Chester.
Born February 20, 1933 in Camden, NJ he was the son of the late Frank Mitchell and the late Lillian Chmielowski Mitchell.
James grew up in Camden, New Jersey, one of nine children in the 1930s when times were extremely difficult, exceptionally so for the family that he was a member of. At the age of 15, he enlisted in the ARMY and was stationed in Japan just a few years after the end of WWII. Jim was a member of the 1st Battalion 8thCalvary Regiment 1st Calvary Division, who saw vicious fighting in the Korean War.
When he returned home after the war, he secured a position as a tree surgeonbecoming an excellent tree climber and an expert with ropes and knots, even competing and winning rope throwing contests.
He worked as a truck driver, first for 7-UP and then for Chemical LeamanTanklines as a member of Teamsters Union, Local 312, logging miles and miles of safe driving year after year of this he was very proud.
Jim was a member of St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, St. Agnes Church, VFW, Elks, Moose, St. Anthony’s, NRA, United States Parachute Association and many more organizations.
When it comes to hobbies, “THE” Mitch…as he referred to himself, had many. High on the list was drinking Budweiser. No chronical of THE Mitch’s life would be accurate without including this fact.
A self-taught left-handed banjo player, Jim found his way into multiple string bands as a Mummer in numerous parades. He played for the Polish-Americansand Garden State. He could also be found touring multiple clubs along the Jersey Shore with his good friend and saxophone player.
He was an avid skydiver, founding member of the United Parachute Club and D643, the 643rd person in the world with an expert D license. He would be quick to tell you that his number should have been in the 200’s, however, he was unable to get the required water jump because of scheduling conflicts! Nonetheless, he had a 3-digit number and he was very proud of that.
He enjoyed photography and was sure to have his camera and equipment on hand no matter the event. At some point, he took an interest in wine making. In the beginning he even smashed the grapes by foot. He usually enjoyed the final product and he took pride in bottling it with his own custom labels.
Jim then moved into a fascination with honey bees and became a beekeeper. At one point, he had multiple hives going. Maintaining and caring for his bee colonies, and extracting the honey, was a labor of love for THE Mitch. He would give gifts of honey and wine to his family and friends at the holidays.
He had a sweet spot for the less fortunate among us and donated what money he could to many different charities. He will surely be missed by those of us who knew him and loved him.
He is survived by his sons, Kevin J. Mitchell (Stacey), and Mark E. Mitchell; and grandchildren, Deuce Mitchell and Madison Mitchell, nieces and nephews and many, many friends.
Relatives and Friends are invited to his visitation on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 from 10:00 am - 10:45 am at DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home, Inc. 410 North Church Street West Chester, PA 19380, 610-696-1181, www.DellaFH.com; followed by his Funeral Service at 11:00 am.
Interment will be in St. Agnes Cemetery West Chester, PA.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Safe Harbor Chester County, West Chester, PA.
Arrangements by DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home, Inc. of West Chester, PA 610-696-1181; www.DellaFH.com.
Safe Harbor of Chester County
20 N. Matlack St., West Chester PA 19380