Dr. William Mitchell

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COUDERSPORT - Dr. William Leo Mitchell of Davenport, Fla., celebrated his 94th birthday on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, and passed that same evening at Grace HealthCare of Lake Wales, Fla., while receiving invaluable caring services from VITAS HealthCare of Davenport.
Dr. Mitchell was devoted to his family, friends and the Coudersport community, serving them all with integrity and accomplishment. Loved and respected by everyone who knew him, "Bill" or "Doc" will be greatly missed. He served for over 50 years as Potter County's veterinarian to large and small animals, both domesticated and wild. He was an Eagle Scout at age 15 with 56 merit badges.
After high school, Doc served with the U.S. Army in the Aleutian Islands for 3 years during World War II, attaining 1st Lieutenant status. While onboard ship, the illness and death of their military canine mascot helped determine his future career.
After the war, Doc attended New York State Sampson Airbase for one year before transferring to and graduating from Cornell University as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), class of 1953. At Cornell, he was a member of Omega Tau Sigma veterinarian fraternity's Delta Chapter. Following an internship in Connecticut, he moved to Coudersport in 1954 when the retirement of the local veterinarian left an opening. At a summertime "Welcome to Town" event for him, held at the home of Roy & Betty Heimel, he met his future wife, Mary Lee Brocklebank.
Doc's commitment to give back to the community also led him to a wide range of volunteer opportunities.
He served on the Coudersport School Board for 18 years, including 2 years in the role of president, and was a member of both the Chamber of Commerce (1956-1960) and the Exchange Club for 28 years.
He was instrumental in the development and creation of the Coudersport Area Recreation Park (CARP) in the 1970s, where in 1998 the park pavilion was named after him. He served as president of the Coudersport Recreation Board for 27 years.
He sponsored free rabies vaccination clinics for the Coudersport area during his veterinary career, greatly assisting with stemming the rabies epidemic of 1984-1985.
He volunteered many of his veterinarian services at the Lobo Wolf Park & Sanctuary in Kane, for his friend Jack Lynch. He was also the veterinarian for Eliot Ness's two cats while the Ness family resided in Coudersport in his father-in-law's home.
He was a 25+ year volunteer at Charles Cole Memorial Hospital, logging in over 1,000 hours, and was a 16+ gallon blood donor.
Doc was an EMT and driver for Coudersport Volunteer Ambulance Association from 1988 to 1995. He assisted the paramedics at Charles Cole Memorial Hospital for 6 years.
He attained the 32nd degree in the Scottish Rite of Masonry through the Coudersport Consistory, and sang with the local Barbershop Quartet for 4 years.
He was a member of Christ Episcopal Church on Main Street and served 6 years on the Vestry.
The same zeal Doc applied to career and community carried over to his personal interests and passions.
He was an accomplished pilot in both single- and multi-engine aircrafts. He rebuilt a 1942 World War II Fairchild Primary Trainer (PT-19-B), winning Grand Champion in the Warbird Category with his #28 fixed wing at the annual Oshkosh, Wisc., air shows in 1984 and 1985. He began judging at Oshkosh in 1983 and held the record as the longest serving Warbirds judge, 32 years. For 22 years, Doc traveled to and from Oshkosh in his Conestoga Wagon and spent 2 weeks prior to the show teaching 12-18 year-olds at the EAA Air Academy.
During his annual trip to Florida, Bill served as a Warbird judge at the springtime Lakeland Sun 'n' Fun Air Show from 1981 to 2012.
For the Department of Forest & Waters, Doc assisted with flight planning and flew fire patrol and bug survey annually in the spring and fall from 1958-1972. He also worked with his good friend and forester Robert Lewis on the preliminary development of the local Department of Environment Resources, created in 1970.
A long-time member of the Canyon Pilots Association, Doc was also an expert pancake chef at their bi-annual Pancake Breakfast Fly-In. For 8 years, he participated in the Geneseo Air Show.
As an additional expression of his love for travel, he drove throughout the Atlantic States for Adelphia Cable Communications a 10+ year period.
On Oct. 22, 2008, he received recognition with the "Wilbur Wright Award" from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for 50+ years of Safe and Dedicated Service.
He is survived by Mary, his beloved wife of 63 years, son Dr. Thomas (Mary Beth) Mitchell of East Norriton; daughters Susan Mitchell of Davenport, Fla., Patricia (Neil) Waseman of York, and Nancy (Vito) Lanzillo of Davenport, Fla.; grandchildren Nicholas (Anne) Taydus, Neil (Claire) Taydus, Peter Taydus, Zachary (Taylor) Taydus, Natalie Mitchell and Anthony Mitchell; great-granddaughter Lowen Taydus; and sister-in-law Alice Brocklebank.
Dr. Mitchell was preceded in death by his parents, Stephen Linus Mitchell (1898-1993) and Madeline Van Orsdale Mitchell (1902-1996) of Binghamton, NY, his brother Jack Mitchell, his sister-in-law Lillian Mitchell, nephew Steve Mitchell, and brother-in-law William Brocklebank.
Plans for a Celebration of Life are still to be determined.
Donations in Dr. Mitchell's name can be made to Teacher's Pet Rescue, 19 Blackberry Lane, Coudersport, PA 16915; Canyon Pilots Association, 112 Runway Road, Wellsboro, PA 16901; VITAS HealthCare, 38251 Highway 27, Davenport, FL 33837; or a . Written condolences may be sent to the family at 522 Royal Palm Drive in Davenport, FL 33837.
Published in The Bradford Era from Jan. 8 to Jan. 15, 2019
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