Monday, May 28, 2007

In Memoriam - Walter Eugene Mitchell (1921-2006)

My uncle, Walter Eugene Mitchell, was born October 25, 1921 in Whitley County, Indiana and died May 30, 2006 at Columbia City, Whitley County, Indiana. He was the son of Clarice M. and Sarah Goldie (Killian) Mitchell.

Walt graduated from Columbia City High School with the Class of 1940 and spent his entire lifetime in Whitley County with the exception of a few years in Laporte, Indiana. He married Phyllis Elizabeth Phend on a snowy, wintry day - December 6th, 1942 - at the home of the bride's parents. Phyllis is the daughter of Hazlette Brubaker and Rolland Victor Phend.

Phyllis and Walt opened a bait and tackle store in their home in Columbia City in 1946. They kept the store for 23 years closing it down in 1969. Walt was also one of Columbia City's top bowlers between 1954 and 1974. In 1964 Walt was employed as a machinist and store keeper for Monsanto Plastic Company in Ligonier, Indiana. The company produced numerous plastic products, including mud flaps for trucks. Walt retired from Monsanto in 1984.

Walt also collected post cards and vintage bottles. His postcard collection started in 1928 when he was 7 years old. He purchased two cards at Trier's Park in Fort Wayne. One card was of Tom Mix and the other was of "Our Gang". In the mid-eighties his collection of post cards numbered between 25-30 thousand cards. They were everywhere! He continued to collect post cards and after his retirement the collection reached 50,000 cards. It was then that Phyllis and Walt started traveling to post card and bottle shows throughout Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio selling and buying. About 10 years ago they had several auctions, selling most of their post cards and bottles.

In addition to his wife, Phyllis, he was survived by one daughter, three sons, eight grandchildren, eleven great grandchildren and one brother, Clarice Mitchell of Columbia City. He was preceded in death by his parents, one son, 2 year old Patrick Allen Mitchell who died in an auto accident in 1948, one grandson, Michael W. Mitchell and two sisters, Ethel Nicodemus and Naomi Trier.

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