BURLINGTON - Hal Frederick Mitchell, born Nov. 11, 1932, in Glen Raven, N.C., died July 2 at his home, following a lengthy illness.
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He is survived by his wife, Imogene; daughter and son-in-law, Sabrina and Keith Oliver; granddaughter, Lauren Oliver; and great-granddaughters, Savanna Johnson and Olivia Younger; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was born the last of nine children to Charles Shirley and Georgia Anna Apple Mitchell of Burlington.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Jessie Mitchell, Alene Barrett, Lydia "Tot" Bookout and Gertrude "Pepper" Gant; and brothers, Bill, Desmond, Charles and Bert.
A lady's man, Hal took great pride in doting on all the girls in his life - wife, daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughters. An early morning riser, he loved to whistle and hum. He was an avid Redskins fan, public servant, U.S. Marine ("Once a Marine, Always a Marine"), lover of classical music, left hand golfer and ball player.
The youngest of nine siblings, Hal was the apple of his sisters' eyes. The girls bought him all kinds of toys and his Dad saw to it that he had a wagon pulled by a goat, until the goat butted Papa's new car and then the goat had to go. Hal's mother said that the boy believed that when the whistles blew and the horns sounded on Nov. 11, it was in celebration of his birthday! His favorite pastimes as a kid were "slipping off" and swimming in Glen Raven pond and hunting squirrels in the then heavily wooded surrounding areas.
As a teenager, Hal worked behind the meat counter at the local Piggly Wiggly grocery store. He attended Walter Williams High School until his senior year when he made the decision to join the U.S. Marine Corps.
Hal served in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he achieved the rank of Sergeant in "E" Company, Second Battalion, 6th Marines, Second Marine Division, FMF, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. During a tour of the Mediterranean in August 1953, his division - the Expeditionary Forces - conducted a recovery mission after an earthquake did extensive damage to the Ionian Islands off of the coast of Greece. That tour of duty left Morehead City, N.C. in April, 1953 and hit ports of call from Gibraltar to France, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Sardinia and Crete before returning to Morehead City in October.
After finishing his enlistment with the Marines, Hal returned to Burlington and got a job with Burlington Industries, where he met his soon-to-be wife, Imogene Hogan. She was a beautiful gal from the mountains of North Carolina that immediately stole his heart. The two were married on Jan. 31, 1955, just six months after their first date, in Glen Raven Methodist Church. The two celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary in 2013.
Hal attended Elon College thanks to the GI Bill and had a degree in Business Administration. He worked as a cost accountant for Burlington Industries, in Burlington, and then Falk Fibers and Fabrics in Hillsborough. He made a career move in 1980 when he became Manager for the Town of Haw River. He retired there in 1996. In retirement he worked for the City of Burlington as a park attendant at Lake MackIntosh until 2007.
While Hal and Imogene had only one child, their daughter Sabrina changed all that on Aug. 21, 1976 when she married Keith Oliver. Keith and Hal were fast friends and Hal often said that, he didn't just get a son-in-law out of the deal, he got a son. Keith loved Hal like a father.
Hal often recited the Marine Corps motto of "Semper Fi" (always faithful). It's because his life was a testament to that motto - always faithful to those he loved.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, July 14 at 3 p.m. at Faith United Methodist Church,1732 W. Davis Street, Burlington, N.C. 27215. A reception will follow the service.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Faith United Methodist Church or Hospice and Palliative Care of Alamance Caswell, 918 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC.
You may sign the online register book at www.lowefuneralhome.com
Published in TheTimesNews.com from July 11 to July 12, 2013