Wednesday, June 10, 2009

William ‘Bill’ Mitchell

NEW ALBIN, Iowa — William “Bill” Mitchell, 62, passed away Saturday, June 6, 2009, at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, La Crosse.

Bill was born in McGregor, Iowa, on March 5, 1947, to James and Teresa (Hammel) Mitchell.

He married the love of his life, Ginny M. Hayes, on Oct. 25, 1969, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Caledonia, Minn.

Bill served with the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1969. He worked for New Albin Police Department, drove school bus for Eastern Allamakee School District, worked in the roofing business and later attended gunsmith school in Denver.

Bill cherished his God, family, friends and nature. His love of deer, turkey, morel and ginseng hunting was the substance of his being. There was not a day that went by without a funny story or joke he would share with whomever was present. His quick wit and harmless pranks will bring many people he loved memories of laughter. He shared his wisdom and vast knowledge of guns, hunting and skills with a large audience, one being a hunter’s safety instructor, teaching children the proper way to handle firearms. He was a lifetime member and president of the Northeast Iowa Whitetails Unlimited for 18 years. He was also a member of the NRA, National Turkey Federation Board, active in his church and community and a proud veteran.

Bill is survived by his wife, Ginny; sons, Jeremy (Amanda), Chad (Laura), Josh (Jill) and Trevor; and a daughter, Kelsey; seven grandchildren, Jasmine, Allison, Alex, Jani Mitchell and Mason Johnson, Camden Mitchell and Arianna Mitchell; his brothers, Lorny (Lucille) and David (Barb) of New Albin, Raymond (Carol) of Maple Grove, Minn., Jerry (Mary) of Alburnett, Iowa, and Earl (Donna) of Palo, Iowa; his sisters, Mary Jo Colsch of Caledonia and Esther (Jim) Benesh of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Kenneth, James and Peter Mitchell; and a sister, Teresa Kubitz.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, New Albin, with military rites to follow. Father Daniel Knipper and Monsignor Ed Lechtenberg will officiate. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at New Albin Community Center, with a 7:30 p.m. prayer service. Visitation will also be from 9:30 to 10 a.m. Wednesday at the community center before the service at the church. McCormick Funeral Home, Caledonia, is assisting the family with arrangements.

I would also add that he was the man who would bring us wild morel mushrooms every spring.

Adding this after the funeral: Msgr Ed Lechtenberg, who is one of Ginny's cousins, as it happens, did a marvelous job on the service. He was so encouraging. Nobody was saying the S word out loud, and then all of a sudden in his sermon he started talking about it, how no one needed to worry and wonder about Bill's salvation, or to wrack their brains over what they could have done differently to prevent it; it's just that diseases come in many forms, diseases of the body and diseases of the mind, and sometimes it's cancer or heart disease that takes someone, and sometimes it's a disease of the mind. He said that 99.9% of the time, suicide is about unbearable pain and the desperation that it brings. He assured the family that the Lord was waiting in the valley of the shadow of death, waiting for Bill with His hand outstretched. He said that every single day he thanks God that God's mercy is so much better and larger than our own.

He also said, "We cry and mourn because we are human. We rejoice because we are Christians."

This is the first Catholic funeral I have been to.


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

Maria Stahl said...

Thanks Erin. I'm not really one of the bereaved, except that this whole town has certainly suffered a blow, but I appreciate that. I'm sure the family would appreciate your prayers for comfort for them in the weeks, months and years to come.

mjohnson20 said...

He's going to be missed very much...words can't express. Without all of the prayers and comfort coming from the community it would have been so much more difficult...thank you guys.