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Walter Lynn Mitchell

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Mitchell, Walter Lynn
Born: July 1, 1952 in Mesa, AZ to Willie Mitchell and Willie Frank Mitchell. He was brought up in Chandler where his parents had established residence in 1944. Walter attended Chandler public schools. He play the drums and percussion throughout high school, where he was a member of the orchestra and marching band. As with the rest of his family, Walter joined the Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Chandler and sang in the junior choir. As a youngster he was in the Cub Scouts and later, Boy Scout Troop 282 where he earned several merit badges, became a patrol leader and eventually attained the rank of Life Scout, scouting's second-highest level. After graduating from high school in 1970, Walter attended Arizona State University, where he majored in special education. and was a dormitory residential adviser. During the summers he would lifeguard at the Chandler and Arrowhead pools. After getting his degree and teaching certificate, Walter began his career in education with the Yuma School District. He also taught in Flagstaff, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Hawaii. He coached girls' basketball in Phoenix and in Las Vegas. During this time he earned a master's degree in education from ASU. While teaching in Nevada, Walter was a tutor for the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Running Rebels basketball team, helping the players stay academically qualified. In 1985, Walter married Andria Mitchell -- yes that was her maiden name -- and they had one daughter, Ashley. In the 1990s Walter began showing subtle signs of physical impairment and he was formally diagnosed with MS in 2003. He took his ailment in stride and taught as long as he was physically capable. When Walter's physical situation forced him to live in assisted-care facilities, he quickly made friends and maintained his charm and helpfulness. The arc of Walter's life took him from being a child of humble beginnings to being an professional educator; from being a son and brother, to being a father and uncle; and from being robust and vital to being slowed down and finally stopped by his physical limitations. Walter was predeceased by his father, Willie Mitchell; mother, Willie Frank Mitchell; brother, Jessie Mitchell and sisters Patricia Ann Smith, Mary Martin, and Barbara and Linda Mitchell. He is survived by his daughter, Ashley; his sisters Edith Smith and Gladys Futrell; brothers Ralph, James and Wayne Mitchell and numerous nieces and nephews. Memorial services are on Saturday, October 24, at Bueler's Mortuary in Chandler.


Published in The Arizona Republic on Oct. 24, 2015
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