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Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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Published: 1/10/2014

George Mitchell; 1942-2014; West Toledo deacon preached with compassion

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
George R. Mitchell George R. Mitchell
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George Mitchell, 71, of West Toledo, an engineer who as a Roman Catholic deacon the last 25 years ministered to the ill and performed baptisms and weddings, died Wednesday in Mercy St. Anne Hospital.

Mr. Mitchell learned two years ago he had lymphoma, son Greg said. After treatment and a period of remission, Mr. Mitchell returned to his duties at Regina Coeli Church. He preached at Mass as recently as mid-November. Doctors by then had discovered two new tumors.

“He was adamant about continuing as long as he was able,” his son said.

Mr. Mitchell, a Regina Coeli member since 1965, had been a liturgical and eucharistic minister when he decided in the 1980s to pursue the deacon program of the Diocese of Toledo. He was ordained in 1988. He was drawn to a scholarly approach to faith, and in 1994 received a master of theology. He wrote out the homilies he preached at Mass.

“He was a person who was very compassionate with human suffering,” said the Rev. Stephen Stanbery, pastor of St. Peter Church in Archbold and Our Lady of Mercy, who was an associate pastor of Regina Coeli when they met. “People used to cry some time during his homilies.”

He officiated at weddings, including those of his children, and performed hundreds of baptisms.

“That was his favorite part of the diaconate program, to see the infants and the young couples, as much as he enjoyed the preaching part,” his son said.

Mr. Mitchell also delivered the homily at the funeral Mass for his daughter, Michelle Griffin, 41, who died in April, 2008, of ovarian cancer.

“That might have been the biggest preaching challenge, to get through that,” his son said.

He was born May 18, 1942, to Arvilla and George Mitchell. He was a graduate of the former Macomber Vocational High School, where he studied radio and television repair. Afterward, he worked at Cousino Electric and Toledo Scale. For years, he worked full time while attending the University of Toledo, from which he received a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1974.

For 25 years, he was a power engineer at Toledo Edison. He retired in 2011 after a decade at JDRM Engineering Inc. in Sylvania, where he worked on the power system design for the Huntington Center downtown.

Each assignment involved a problem to be solved, schematics to be done, calculations to be made, his son said.

“The meticulous nature seemed to appeal to him,” his son said.

Surviving are his wife, Mary, whom he married July 3, 1965; son, Greg; daughter, Megan Caputo; sister, Rosemary Kenney, and two grandsons.

Visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. Sunday in Sujkowski Funeral Home Northpointe, with Vespers at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in Regina Coeli Church.

The family suggests tributes to the St. Vincent De Paul Society.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.



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