Jeff Mitchell, Corvallis
1945 - 2018
Some of us value time, money or hierarchy.
Jeffrey James Mitchell valued students, family, friends, bugs, apples, rivers, orchards, nature, gardens and hard work. Jeff died of cancer in his Corvallis, OR river home on Monday, August 20, 2018 at the break of dawn-- just as he arose every morning for 73 years.
Born to Ed and Edna Mitchell on July 15, 1945 in San Mateo CA, Jeff leaves behind: Cindy, his wife of 47 years and his two beloved sons: Jed Mitchell and life-partner Kari Miller of Corvallis, and Cash Mitchell and wife, Kerry-Ann Mitchell and precious grandson, Lucas Mitchell, of Los Angeles.
Jeff’s brother, Ed Mitchell III of San Francisco and his sister Sally Mitchell of Woodland Hills, as well as 26 nieces, nephews and literally hundreds of cherished students, friends and extended family share the loss of his amazing presence.
Jeff’s chosen roles were many.
He graduated with a Masters in Science in the 1960s. As a young, adventurous man in 1972, Jeff and Cindy moved from the California redwoods to Rickreall Oregon and lived in trees, tepees and tents. They eventually built their off-the-grid Nashville Oregon home, where they raised honeybees, planted trees, sold firewood and began a family.
In 1985, Jeff discovered his zest and extreme love for teaching high school Biology, Environmental Science and Horticulture.
Blossoming into a modern day “Johnny Appleseed”, Jeff and his students planted the Eddyville Pioneer Apple Orchard, the Philomath Food Bank Orchard, the Summerton Ranch Orchard and the Pax Produce Orchard.
He personally scavenged fleets of bicycles for students to pump to outdoor classrooms, where they learned to professionally repair riparian zones; plant city trees; build greenhouses, foot bridges, wetland viewing scopes and practice scientific inquiry. Growing, grafting, pruning and evaluating locally-adapted, organic grapes, fruit trees and seed produced huge lettuce heads and amazing varieties of sweet corn, which many students now grow for their own children.
- His greatest joy was that generations of his students who adopted careers in the sciences forever understand the critical importance of bio-diversity, respect for interdependence, lifecycles and each other.
Pragmatic, kind, respectful and an avid environmentalist, Jeff served on the Marys River Watershed Council, the Riverkeepers Board of Directors, co-created The Marys Peak Interpretive Center Wetlands Outdoor Education School program and supported many environmental organizations and causes.
He will be dearly missed. Rest in peace, Jeff!
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Mitchell River home on Pax Place, on Oct. 20, 2018 at 1 p.m. Potluck/dress for rain. No dogs please. Shuttle available from Waldorf School.