David Eugene Mitchell, 94, formerly of Mason City, passed away Feb. 22, 2019, at the Gardens of Cedar Rapids. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, at Major Erickson Funeral Home, 111 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Mason City. Funeral services will be held
at 10:30 a.m. Friday, March 1, at First United Methodist Church, 119 S. Georgia Ave., Mason City. Interment will follow
in Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.majorericksonfuneralhome.com.
David Eugene Mitchell, son of James Wesley and Ara Laurie Mitchell, was born July 31, 1924, on the family farm home near Orient, Iowa. He attended Orient Consolidated School, K-12. He graduated in 1942. He attended Central College in Pella, prior to enlistment into the armed forces in June 1943.
David received anti-aircraft artillery and Air Force bomber crew training before being reassigned to the Army infantry. David served overseas during World War II in France and Germany with the 70th Infantry Division, 276th Regiment, Company F mortar squad at the rank of staff sergeant. He proudly held the Combat Infantry Badge.
After being honorably discharged in 1946, he resumed college at the University of Iowa, where he received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in education. He met his future wife, Arlene V. Sindt, at the Wesley Center at the University of Iowa. They were united in married June 1948 at the Methodist church in Arlene's hometown, Rock Rapids, Iowa. Upon graduation, he began his teaching career in Mason City in 1950, retiring from teaching in 1987.
David and Arlene raised three beloved children, a son, Monty Mitchell, and wife, Kathleen McGinn, of Bettendorf and their children, Tyler Mitchell of Bettendorf and his daughter, Ava Chesney of Estero, Fla., and Hunter and Devon Spreen of Bettendorf; son, Mark Mitchell and wife, Nancy, of Vicksburg, Mich., and their children, Jeff Mitchell of Arlington, Texas, and Katherine Mitchell of Detroit, Mich.; and his daughter, Ann Finneman and husband, James, of Cedar Rapids, and their children, Grant and Ross Finneman of Cedar Rapids. David's life was centered around his wife, Arlene, their three children and seven grandchildren. He treasured time spent with his family at the cottage in Clear Lake.
During his distinguished teaching career, he organized and directed Mason City's first all-city science fair in 1958. David also helped design and taught the early accelerated science classes and served as judge for numerous science fairs. He also was an active member of local teacher organizations. David regularly updated his science background by attending national science teacher summer institutes around the country. During the summers of 1968-70, he planned and conducted a popular lake ecology class at Clear Lake. David also served as program manager of the Junior Achievement program in Mason City for several years.
David completed a specialist in education degree in 1973. He also was selected as an alternate from the state of Iowa in NASA's Teacher in Space program in 1986. David was a charter member of the Mason City Evening Lions Club, serving as club president in 1978-79.
Many later years were devoted to real estate sales. David and Arlene visited several elder hostel programs in various states. He was a past member of the Phi Delta Kappa education fraternity, a life member of NEA, American Legion and VFW. David was an active lifelong member of the First United Methodist Church. He had a strong interest in outdoor activities, enjoying camping, skiing, biking, gardening, and was very appreciative of music, the natural world and environmental issues. David enjoyed playing the flute in the high school band and the New Horizons Band at the Music Man Square. David was a proud participant in the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., in October 2009.
David was preceded in death by his sisters, Lida Ruth Mitchell of Orient and Louise Engesser and husband Will of Plainview, Minn.; and brother, Charles Wesley Mitchell and wife Marjorie of Wichita, Kan.; and grandson, Drake Finneman of Cedar Rapids.
He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Arlene, now of Cedar Rapids; and his sister, Mary Caroline Inlow.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the David E. Mitchell memorial scholarship fund or to the First United Methodist Church of Mason City.