The gates of Heaven surely swung wide open when Gerald “Jerry” Mitchell arrived on May 23, 2023. Jerry departed this earth following 80 years of a life led by faith and kindness.
Jerry was the epitome of a southern gentleman with a soft southern drawl that added to his charm as he made every encounter memorable. He offered a caring shoulder, a listening ear, a great sense of humor and gentle guidance to anyone in need. This knack made him a beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle, friend, school administrator/teacher, and boss.
He was born on March 22, 1943 to Nellie and William Mitchell in Burlington, North CaroIina. At age 10, his family moved to Florida, where he lived for most of his life. He briefly returned to North Carolina while attending East Carolina University where he received his Bachelor’s degree and was a proud member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He continued his education obtaining Masters degrees from University of South Florida. His career in education began in Wauchula, FL where he served as a middle school special education teacher. It was in Wauchula that he met his wife, Roseann (Makowski). They settled in Bradenton and were active members of the community for more than 35 years.
He was born to be an educator and the impact he made on the lives of thousands of students left a lifelong impression on many. He served as Coordinator of Special Education for Manatee County Schools before becoming Superintendent of Bradenton Christian School where he had previously served on the BCS School Board. Jerry gave extra attention to those with special needs and learning disabilities, opening inclusion opportunities for those students.
After retiring from Ft Lauderdale Christian School in 2009, and in true Jerry fashion, he and Roseann moved to Ohio to form a village of support for their grandson, Amick who has autism. He came to love Ohio and gardening with four-seasons, college football and top-notch healthcare. However, the move shortened his beloved golf game to a two-season sport.
Jerry is survived by his loving wife of 51 years, Roseann, children: Drew (Jenn) and Brooke (Lars) Olson, the grandchildren “Gdad” adored: Garrett, Gavin and Grayson (Mitchell), Lena, Amick and Thoren (Olson), step-grandchildren: Tess, Bethany and Anni (Mahurin), niece and nephews: Patty (Rich) Urban, Doug (Tiffany) Weaver and Shannon Mitchell, brother-in-law Mike (Jeannie) Makowski, life-long best friend Brenda Bowen, his precious Godchildren: Ken Bowen, Bonnie Bowen, Jennifer Jerome and Mark Tutschulte, along with many special friends from across the country and abroad. He was preceded in death by his parents: Nellie and William Mitchell, brother William “Bill” Mitchell, sister Judy Weaver and nephew Terry Weaver.
Celebrations of Jerry’s life will be held in Ohio and Florida.
Marion, OH - Celebration of Life will be held on Thursday, June 1st at the Marion Country Club from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Bradenton, FL – Celebration of Life will be held on Thursday, June 15th at Bradenton Christian School at 10 am with a time of fellowship following from 11am to 12 pm.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to iTaalk Autism Foundation (iTaalk.org) which was near to Jerry’s heart as a founding board member and member emeritus.
As the hymn ‘It is Well With My Soul’ was one of Jerry’s favorites, we know he made a lasting impression on our souls and we will be forever grateful. As we bid farewell, we send him off with this sentiment: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”