Graveside funeral services will be held in the West Side District Cemetery on Friday, October 18, 2013 at 3:00 P.M. for longtime Taft resident Neal Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell was born in Licking, Missouri on November 22, 1919 and passed peacefully at his home on October 10, 2013 while being cared for by his wife and children. His father Harry, like many men from that area, had secured employment in the oil fields, enabling his family to join him when Neal was two. Neal was raised and educated in Taft. When World War II approached, Neal and his close friends enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1941, though they served in different theatres. Neal often reminisced about his high regard for the Samoan people. He especially loved their harmonies while they worked together. He continued on to serve in the South Pacific and participated in the action on Guadalcanal. Gratefully, Neal's friends survived to continue their lives in Taft, and he was employed by Standard Oil/Chevron.
Neal and Bob Hook were Boy Scout Leaders, with the troop being made up mostly of a group of his son's pals. The same group continued on to create a Sea Explorer Post with Lee Talbert and Neal as post leaders. Mr. Mitchell and his family enjoyed camping and boating at Huntington Lake with the Stouts, Hooks, Halls, Helms and Hitchcock families.
Neal was quiet and unassuming and possessed a quick wit. It was a pleasure to sit around a table or a campfire with family and friends when Neal and others would recall humorous aspects of war, work and life. He was a craftsman who could build or repair just about anything and especially enjoyed woodworking. His family assisted Neal in many of these endeavors thereby learning the tools and process of building or repairing such things as furniture, stereo equipment, boats or soap box cars. If you could describe what you needed, he could put it together.
Mr. Mitchell is survived by his wife of 67 years, Mable; his son and his wife, Neal and Ronda Mitchell; his daughter Leslie Annette Mitchell; his sister and her husband, Rosalie and George Hickernell; sister-in-law, Mary McGuire; his grandchildren, Tamara Koury, David Mitchell and Kathryn Gilbert; and four great grand children. Neal had so many caring nieces and nephews.
No visitation hours are scheduled. To convey condolences or sign an online registry, please visit www.EricksonAnd Brown.com