Cover photo for Arthur "Lee" Mitchell Jr.'s Obituary
1927 Arthur 2021

Arthur "Lee" Mitchell Jr.

March 8, 1927 — December 17, 2021

BLUE GRASS — Arthur Lee Mitchell Jr., 94, of Blue Grass, passed away peacefully on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 at U.Va. Medical Center.

Mr. Mitchell was born in Dry Fork, Pittsylvania County, on March 8, 1927, a son of Frances Oakes and Arthur Lee Mitchell.

Upon graduation from Whitmell Farm Life School, Mr. Mitchell’s life was forever changed when he enlisted into the U.S. Army during World War II, where he served in Frankfurt, Germany. He went on to graduate from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1951, and started his career teaching agriculture in Southampton County. In 1958, he joined the Farmers Home Administration (USDA) and in 1960, relocated with his wife and infant daughter to Kenbridge, where they lived and restored an antebellum home in Lunenburg County. He moved to Richmond in 1974 when he became chief of farmer programs in the state office until retiring in 1989.

After retiring, he enjoyed working part-time in the hand tools department at Pleasants Hardware.  During retirement, he was able to pursue his lifetime love of woodworking. He was especially known for his mechanical wooden children’s toys, rocking chairs, and his intricate wood carvings. In addition, he traveled on three occasions overseas with the Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance program.

He and Joyce moved to Blue Grass in 1997 where his beloved daughter, Betty, and her husband, Brian Richardson, had moved several years before. His time helping on their sheep farm, in his woodwork shop, and in his garden brought his life full circle. He was honored to be a founding member of the Highland Farmers Market in the summer of 1998, and enjoyed visiting with fellow vendors and customers each summer for 16 seasons. In his later years, he enjoyed the camaraderie of his “lunch bunch” friends. He will be remembered as a gentleman whose warm smile and supportive, positive personality made friends wherever he went. He served in numerous civic and professional organizations; and he had a joke or story for every occasion. He was a man of deep faith and loved his family and his Lord. He was a supportive father and teacher at heart.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his wife of 58 years, Joyce Ann Mitchell; brother, Clinner P. Mitchell; and sisters, Agnes Corbin and Celia Branch.

He is survived by his daughter, Betty M. Mitchell and son-in-law Brian Richardson of Blue Grass; brother-in-law, Frederick Keesee and wife Sandy; and sisters-in-law, Gwen K. Johnson and husband Gordon, and June Mitchell; as well as nieces and nephews, and many dear friends.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to: The Talking Book Center, 1 Churchville Avenue, Staunton, Va. 24401; or Blue Grass Resource Center for the Highland Inn Renovation, P.O. Box 113, Blue Grass, Va. 24413.

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