David Harder Mitchell, 76, of Cordillera, formerly of New Canaan and Greenwich, Conn., passed away peacefully in his home Tuesday with Ellen, his loving wife of almost 21 years, and devoted dog, Hana, by his side. His passing was the final chapter in his courageous 14-year journey with multiple myeloma, cancer of the bone marrow. Those lucky enough to know Dave enjoyed his generosity, love of life, positive attitude and will sorely miss his wry sense of humor. He was an inspiration to all who knew him.
Dave was the son of the late Montgomery Eveland Mitchell and Rebea Jean (Harder) Mitchell. Born May 22, 1937, in Wellsville, N.Y., Dave developed a love of sports and the great outdoors with his brother Dick, his best friend, mentor and companion in boyhood mischief. He graduated from Wellsville High School in 1955, where he served as captain of the wrestling and football teams. With highest honors, Dave attained both a BS (Lehigh University, 1959) and MS (State University of New York — Syracuse) in mechanical engineering. At Lehigh, he was president of the Theta Chi Fraternity.
He had a successful 34-year career at IBM Corporation, beginning as an engineer based in Endicott, N.Y., working on leading edge technology for the mainframe computers, before continuing in various management and executive positions. Upon retiring for IBM, Dave had a very successful consulting business for five years, assisting both private and public sector clients.
Dave and his first wife, Susanne (Cantley) Cox, have three children, Pam, Brad and Ken, with whom they shared their love of skiing, tennis, the great outdoors and their grandchildren. While life took Dave and Sue down separate paths after their children were grown, they continued to share a strong, united commitment to their family.
In 1992, Dave married Ellen Earley in Greenwich, Conn. As they finished their careers, they found the perfect retirement spot and built a home in Cordillera, moving in September 1999 at the same time Dave was first diagnosed. Despite this health challenge, Dave embraced life and his desire to give back to the community. For a decade, Dave and Ellen were mentors to two brothers in the Vail Valley. Dave was the chair of both the Cordillera Design Review Board and Vail Gondola Club among other community volunteer activities, where he focused on better protecting Cordillera’s beautiful environment.
Throughout his life, Dave continually challenged himself through his love of the outdoors. He climbed Mount Rainier and The Grand in the Tetons, as well as nearly achieving the summit of the Matterhorn for his 50th birthday before weather forced him to abort the ascent. He was a proud finisher of 13 marathons including New York and Boston, as well as completing numerous century (100-mile) bike rides. After a 25-year hiatus, Dave again took up golf and enjoyed every minute he played with his Blue Tee group of friends. He was most proud that he skied for 73 consecutive years and passed on his love of the sport to his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Alexander Urquhart, Katie Jones and the staff at the Shaw Regional Cancer Center for all of their support, Lindsey Bolduc of Hospice of the Valley for her compassionate care and our dear friends at the Cordillera Metro District.
Survivors include wife Ellen Mitchell, of Cordillera; daughter Pamela (Richard) Trainer, of Ludlow, Vt.; sons D. Bradley (Elizabeth) Mitchell, of Allentown, Pa., and Kenneth (Elizabeth) Mitchell, of Warwick, N.Y.; five grandchildren, Kathryn, Margaret and Elizabeth Mitchell, Myles and Quinn Trainer; former wife Susanne Mitchell Cox, of Bluffton, S.C.; and sister Constance Madera, of Moorestown, N.J. He was predeceased by his brothers, George Montgomery Mitchell and Richard L. Mitchell.
A memorial service will be held at the Beaver Creek Chapel on Nov. 1 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions would be appreciated to:
Shaw Regional Cancer Center, P.O. Box 2559, Edwards, CO 81632; Hospice of the Valley, P.O. Box 1474, Edwards, CO 81632; Richard L. and David H. Mitchell Scholarship- Lehigh University, 27 Memorial Drive, Bethlehem, PA 18015.