Leon Mitchell Jr., 78, a longtime resident of Fort Worth, died Sunday, July 21, 2013. Service: 10 a.m. Thursday in Laurel Land Memorial Chapel. Interment: Laurel Land Memorial Park. Visitation: 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Laurel Land Memorial Chapel. Memorials: In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Eastern Hills Student Council, the Eastern Hills Highlanders Care Closet #2, or to a
. Leon was born July 6, 1935, in Corsicana to Luther Leon Mitchell Sr. and Francis Marion Forrest Mitchell. His family moved to Fort Worth in 1942. He attended Arlington Heights Elementary, Stripling Junior High School and Arlington Heights High School. Leon graduated from Arlington State College and received a BA in history from Texas Christian University in 1958. He completed his master's degree from the University of Texas
in 1961. In 1963 he completed an eight-week course at the First Annual Ancient History Seminar in Greece, which included seminar attendance, field trips with assignments, research and his presentations regarding historical or archaeological subjects. Leon spent his entire teaching career with the Fort Worth Independent School District. He began teaching world history at Paschal High School until his transfer to Eastern Hills in 1961, where he taught government/sociology until his retirement in 1990. His passion for history was evident both in and out of the classroom. He thoroughly enjoyed Civil War history and his extensive research focused on Civil War prisoners. He presented his paper "Camp Ford, Confederate Prison at Tyler" to the Texas State Historical Association in Austin in 1960. He completed his thesis in 1961 entitled "Prisoners of War in the Confederate Trans-Mississippi." The thesis chronicled the prisons and prisoners between 1862-1865 providing a detailed account of the various locations and records of actual prison activities. Leon was involved in multiple school activities at the high school. He was the Student Council sponsor for over 20 years, was active in government activities, registered students as voters, and sponsored an annual government trip to the State Capitol. He developed the handbook for freshman -- the Highlander Bulletin. Leon received multiple honors during his lifetime. In 1977, Fort Worth Mayor Hugh Q. Parmer proclaimed Nov. 7 as Leon Mitchell Day in appreciation for Leon's inspirational and constructive influence on the students at Eastern Hills High School. Leon also received the Eastern Hills Lifetime PTA Membership Award in 1977. In 1985 he received the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Outstanding Educator Award. He was honored with the Twentieth Century Teacher Award for promoting better public relations by the Texas Retired Teachers Association in 1996. Leon also cherished the multiple tributes he received from the students. Leon's work did not end with his retirement in 1990. He worked tirelessly with the late Billy W. Sills to collect information and categorize historical documents for Tarrant County government history and Tarrant County schools. This work ensured the collection of artifacts and memorabilia would be preserved for the future. He served as curator from 2002 until he became curator emeritus in 2005. In October 2005, Leon was recognized by the Tarrant County Historical Commission with the William E. Jary, Jr. Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to the documentation of Tarrant County history. Leon was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Douglas; nephew, Larryjoe; and his great-nephew, Steven. Survivors: Leon is survived by his nephew, Lee Mitchell and his wife, Debra, of Wichita Falls; niece, Marianne Mitchell of Weatherford; great-nephews, Greg Mitchell of Arlington and Mark Mitchell and his wife, Amy, of Cambridge, Ohio. He also has four great-great-nephews and one great-great-niece.