Dennis Russell Mitchell, 1933–2019


My dad, Dennis Russell Mitchell, passed away in his sleep this morning.

I love this crazy photo of him (the first one). It’s perfect.

He played golf his entire life — until he couldn’t anymore — and he would always go the extra mile to get a laugh. He lived to make people laugh.

Dad was a complicated guy from a generation that wasn’t allowed to be complicated. He was the hardest worker I’ve ever known, and he believed in doing the right thing. He flew jets and trained fighter pilots. I don’t think he ever knew how cool he was.

He cherished his friends and would do anything for them. He could have a conversation with anybody. He was an athlete and a competitor. He started a company from nothing and built it into a business that allowed him to retire a few years younger than I am now.

He was capable of jaw-dropping generosity — he’s bailed a few of us out more than once.

Dad would’ve hated how his last few years played out. After all, there were lists to make and chores to do. He needed to be busy. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if his last thought as he faded away was wondering if his gutters needed to be cleaned out.

My guess at how he’s spent his time since passing?

Given that he left us at around 8:30 this morning, he’d have realized that there was still plenty of time in his Sunday to get in 18 holes. Though he hasn’t golfed in a few years, today he probably shot his age (85). And he still got home in time to mow the yard, trim the hedges, and edge the driveway. 

At 5:00 (on the nose — he strictly observed the cocktail hour), he mixed up a precisely-measured rum and coke, lit up a Kent, grabbed the crossword puzzle and headed out to the patio.

“Shannon, what’s a seven-letter word for ‘until we meet again’?”


Rest in peace, Dad. We’ll miss you

Patrick Mitchell