Ralph C. Mitchell III September 3, 1935 - July 12, 2013 - SAVANNAH - Ralph C. Mitchell III passed away Friday, July 12, 2013, at the place he loved the most, his home. Ralph's enthusiastic love of life led him along a diverse and adventurous path. Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to Ralph C. Mitchell Jr. and Marian Taylor Mitchell, his fame and notoriety spread as a teen throwing fire bombs on Cherry Street. Ralph's bright red hair added to the glow. Although a star baseball shortstop, his favored activity was tossing a seemingly mile-high baton as a drum major. Ralph continued as a drum major at Tulane University culminating in an appearance at the Cotton Bowl halftime show, where he wowed the crowd as he threw a trio of flaming batons. Ralph's academic and extra-curricular successes earned him a coveted Navy ROTC scholarship which paid for all four years of college. Ralph majored in business and was a leader in the SAE fraternity. Upon graduation from Tulane, Ralph began active duty in the Navy which spurred his lifelong love for boating and the sea. He served four years as an officer and fondly recalls this time as one of the happiest of his life. Ralph spent nearly 30 successful years as a utilities executive and CEO in Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas. He retired at age 51 and fulfilled his dream of buying his own boat, a 46' Grand Banks trawler. For five years, Ralph and his family lived on Nepenthe traveling extensively in the out islands of the Bahamas. His spearfishing prowess struck fear in the hearts of Bahamian fish everywhere. Nepenthe brought Ralph to the Landings on Skidaway Island and he loved it so much he gave up his seafaring ways to become a Landings homeowner. Ralph's enthusiastic energy then continued on land. His infamous Thursday golf group brought a new dimension to the Landings golf scene. Ralph was also a leader in the Savannah community, serving on many boards and volunteering his talents and time. Very important to Ralph was his faith and involvement with St. Peter's Episcopal Church. Another of Ralph's true passions was music. Involved in music in many different ways, he is well known for compiling the world's largest private collection of obscure Johnny Mercer music. His annual Big Band Swing Concert at the Landings first benefitted Friends of Johnny Mercer, raising funds for the Johnny Mercer statue in Ellis Square. It currently benefits Park Place Outreach, and continues to the hottest ticket in the Landings. This year's October 19th benefit concert will honor the life and legacy of Ralph Mitchell. Ralph's quest for exotic locales and delicious food led him to travel extensively through Spain, France, Italy and Greece. Captain Ralph never lost his love for the sea, wrapping up his last Spanish adventure with a tasty dish of barnacles. Ralph's loving family includes devoted wife Maggie, son Sandy and his wife Tami, daughter Katie, step-daughter Tracy, grandchildren Jessie, Will, Sarah, John and Evan. Ralph's unparalleled zest for life will truly be missed. Ralph's memorial service will be held at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Skidaway Island, on Saturday July 20 at 3pm. In honor of Ralph, please consider a donation to the Youth Pilgrimages of St. Peter's Episcopal Church. This year the young teens are walking a portion of Camino de Santiago in Spain and following an itinerary that Ralph conceptualized, planned and inspired. Donations may be directed to St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 3 West Ridge Road, Savannah, GA 31411. Indicate on your check In Honor of Ralph Mitchell. Please sign our on-line guest book at www.foxandweeks.com Savannah Morning News July 15, 2013 Please sign our Obituary Guest Book at savannnahnow.com/obituaries.
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Published in Savannah Morning News from July 14 to July 15, 2013