Obituary for Willie Mitchell
On Thursday August 10, 2017, after a visit from his daughter, Gail and nephew, Junie at Northwell Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, NY, Mr. Willie Roy Mitchell, known to many as Mitch, disrobed his tattered earthly body and grabbed the hand of our Lord and Savior and departed this life.
Willie Roy Mitchell was born September 4, 1921 in Elm City, North Carolina to the late Kester Roy and
Martha (Taylor) Mitchell. He had four brothers, Kester, Cashe, Purcell, and Willie Cooper; six sisters;
Flora, Mamie, Christine, Amanda, Inell and Mildred.
Mitch was educated in the Wilson County, NC school system. Following high school, he took a job as the first
Black school bus driver in the town. Following WW II, where he fought in the US Army in Germany, he took advantage of the free tuition and enrolled in North Carolina Agricultural & Technical College in Greensboro, NC.
It was there on the steps of the library that he met his wife Ellen (Massenburg). They dated and after they both graduated, they married and moved to Greenville, NC. Mitch began teaching Industrial Arts at Epts High School. Always looking for a better opportunity, Mitch and Ellen relocated to Brooklyn, NY. A few years after the birth
of their one and only child, Belinda Gail, the family moved to Jamaica, Queens, NY in the late 1950’s.
In the early 1960’s, he passed the civil service exam and took a position as a caseworker with the NYC
Department of Social Services. The job suited his personality perfect. It allowed him to do a lot of talking
and help people improve the quality of their lives. To better his opportunity for advancements, he continued his education at Columbia University, in New York City in the field of Sociology.
Mitch’s life centered on the Four F’s ….. Faith, Family, Finance, and Food
Faith…. At an early age Mitch attended church with his family and as a young adult he received Christ as his
Lord and Savior He united with the Westminister Presbyterian Church, Jamaica, N.Y around 1960. He served for many years as an Elder, Chairman of the Building and Property Committee, sang on the Male Choir, worked
with the Youth fellowship and chaperoned many of their retreats. He lived a Purpose Driven Life carrying out the Master’s work.
Family….His love for family was the core of his being. Nothing meant more to him than his family. He
supported his family with his money, his talents and most of all his wisdom. The highlights of his summers
were to attend family reunions. On his paternal side, The Edwards Family have been gathering every year for
over 80 years. Up until a few years ago, he had attended every one of the reunions, not missing one. On his
maternal side (Taylor) he attended annual family reunions, including traveling with them to Ghana, Africa at the
turn of the century to study the family heritage and roots. And he still found time to attend family reunions with Ellen’s family (Massenburgs).
Finance….Managing your money was critical. He felt that you should be in a position to not only meet your expenses but also to be a blessing to someone else who may need assistance. Two of his favorite quotes were
“A fool and money shall soon depart” and “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man
to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Food….Mitch had a love for agriculture and had a beautiful vegetable garden and shared his produce. He enjoyed sitting around the table with family and friends and good food. The last club he joined was the Mc Donald’s
Breakfast Club, on Sutphin Blvd where he would sit with the guys and drink coffee, share breakfast specials, and
talk about current events.
Mitch was a walking encyclopedia. He had a wealth of knowledge which mostly came from experience. After he became confined, GOOGLE HOME became his companion. In the afternoons you would hear him asking Google questions and trying to challenge its answers.
He leaves to cherish his memories, devoted and loving wife, Ellen; daughter, Belinda Gail Grant, son-in-law
William D. Grant, grand daughter Krystin; great grandson, Travis; brother: Willie Cooper (Helen) of Chattanooga, Tenn.: sisters: Amanda Cameron of Elm City, NC; Mildred Davis of E. Elmhurst, NY; Inell Langston of Brooklyn,
NY; In-laws, Annie B. Mitchell, Reney Pinckney and James Boykins, nieces, nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews, The Edwards Family Clan and the Whitley/Cotton/Taylor/Joyner Clan, cousins and a host of other
relatives, dear friends, and a very special friend of his, Teddie Bear, the family dog.
The insignias listed here may be subject to copyright and / or trademarked. Those copyrights and trademarks are owned by the respective organizations.