George Albert Mitchell, 83, teacher, family historian

July 14, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

George Albert Mitchell, a retired city schoolteacher, the brother of Rep. Parren J. Mitchell and a family historian in Baltimore's well-known Mitchell clan, died Friday of a heart-related illness at Sinai Hospital. He was 83.

Mr. Mitchell was born in humble surroundings on unpaved Stockton Alley in West Baltimore and remained humble and quiet all his life, according to relatives.

But he was also devoted to his city school students and to the political endeavors of his brother and his many nieces and nephews, including former state Sens. Clarence M. Mitchell III and Michael B. Mitchell.

"He said you should never reject even the most humble and most difficult of children, because you can get out of them something that is really great and marvelous, if you believe in them," Michael Mitchell said.

As a student at Douglass High School, classmates called Mr. Mitchell "Crowbar" for his tenacity on the football field, family members recalled.

During World War II, he served as a medical corpsman in the Army in England.

After being honorably discharged with the rank of first sergeant in 1945, he worked for the post office and attended Morgan State College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in education in 1953.

For the next 24 years, he taught in several city schools, ending his career at Calverton Middle School before he retired in 1977. For many years, Mr. Mitchell paid for copies of the New York Times, "so his seventh- and eighth-grade students at Calverton Middle School could be exposed to a wider world," Michael Mitchell said.

Uncle George, as he was called by family and friends, was a true "renaissance man," Michael Mitchell said.

Mr. Mitchell spoke fluent German, was a self-taught cellist and read poetry on WCAO radio for 30 minutes on Sunday mornings.

In retirement, he often could be found cultivating his prized roses in the back yard of his McCulloh Street home. He also wrote poetry, listened to opera or attended the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

A memorial Mass will be offered at noon Monday at St. Katherine's Episcopal Church, 2001 Division St.

In addition to his brother and nephews, survivors include a sister, Elsie Julia Mitchell of Baltimore; several more nieces and nephews; and a special friend, Maria Dotson Hammond of Baltimore.

Pub Date: 7/14/98

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