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Kenneth F. Mitchell

Kenneth F. Mitchell

Aug 26, 1936 - Aug 29, 2021

Kenneth F. Mitchell - Obituary


CDR Kenneth Francis Mitchell, US Navy (ret) passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, August 29, 2021 at the age of 85 surrounded by loved ones. Ken “Mitch” Mitchell was born in Brooklyn, New York on August 26, 1936 to Kenneth William Mitchell and Adelaide Gregory Mitchell. Throughout his life he treasured memories of growing up in Brooklyn surrounded by cousins, especially favorite cousins Joan Marie Glover and Noreen Goodwin. He moved with his parents to California in 1948 and at the outbreak of the Korean War traveled by ocean liner to the territory of Hawaii where his father was stationed at Pearl Harbor. He spent his teenage years exploring the forests and beaches around O’ahu and developing his love of the ocean and traditional Hawaiian surfing. He developed his lifelong fascination with aviation growing up around Hickam Field and stowed away on a flight to Guam at the age of 15. He returned to the mainland in 1954 to attend the United States Naval Academy and was a member of the Class of 1958. He maintained lifelong friendships with his classmates in Company 10, particularly with the families of late classmates Dick Lovejoy and Odie O’Donnell, whose families became extensions of his own. He sponsored godson Chris Lovejoy as a midshipman and regularly attended Class of 58 reunions throughout his life, undeterred by health issues in his later years. After graduation from the Academy, Ken Mitchell attended flight training school in Pensacola, Florida and Corpus Christi, Texas and embarked on a career as a Naval Aviator in 1960. He joined Anti-Submarine Warfare Squadron 34 and served both ashore at Quonset Point and on the aircraft carrier USS Essex, surviving the North Atlantic storm that severely damaged the vessel and distinguishing himself as a member of the U.S. Naval Blockade Force during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He completed one of the most difficult curricula at the Naval Post Graduate School in 1965, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in electronic engineering. He earned a Naval Achievement Medal as a Flight Instructor and Quality Control Officer for VT-31 in Corpus Christi, Texas and served as Training and Administration Officer for VS-38 in North Island, California. His tour as an Aircraft Commander in the Vietnam conflict at the Gulf of Tonkin earned the Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Vietnam Service Medal. He returned to the Naval Academy in 1970, where he taught Electrical Engineering and served in the Naval Systems Engineering Command. He retired from the Navy in 1978 and embarked on a new career as a member of the senior technical staff of a technology think tank, Propulsion Dynamics, Inc. in Annapolis where he developed cutting edge computer control systems for Navy ships. Mitch is survived by his wife Pauline (Polly) Bower Mitchell; daughters from his first marriage to Shirley Sowell Mitchell, Cathryn Mitchell Reid and her husband William, and Carolyn Mitchell; step daughter Carlyle Menne Jacinto and her husband Noel; step son Peter Menne; son Kenneth William Mitchell, II and his wife Kristin; daughter Grace Mitchell Westreich and her husband Jonathan; grandchildren Jay and Tony Jacinto and Linat, Shirite and Nathan Westreich; his brother Robert Mitchell and sisters Debra Mitchell Burger and Geraldine Mitchell Obi; many fondly remembered cousins from New York; his godson LTCOL Christopher Lovejoy, USMC (ret) and numerous friends from the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1958. Family and friends are invited to celebrate Mitch's life at Kalas Funeral Home & Crematory, 2973 Solomons Island Rd., Edgewater, MD on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm and 6:00-8:00 pm. A service will be held at the U.S. Naval Academy Main Chapel on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 at 2:00 pm. You can sign the family's online guestbook by visiting the link on this page.