Mitchell, John Nathan, Jr., age 74, of Eagan, MN, passed away peacefully in his home on January 29, 2018, after a valiant battle with gastric cancer. His loving family was at his side sharing music, laughter, and special memories.
John (also known as Nate) graduated from Washburn High School in 1961, and attended the University of Minnesota, where he played on the freshmen varsity basketball team. During an interruption from college, he was drafted into the Army. John’s leadership skills were quickly recognized, and he achieved commissioned officer status. He led an engineering battalion unit as an adjutant in Vietnam from 1966-67, was a company commander at Fort Ord, CA from 1967-68, and was honorably discharged with the rank of 1st Lieutenant.
John then began his lifelong career as a dedicated advocate for disadvantaged and at-risk youth, and for close to 30 years he was Executive Director of Katahdin Workshops for Youth and Families. His compassionate and gentle nature earned him respect from his student clients, professional colleagues, and faithful protégés. John’s “service heart” extended beyond his work life, including membership on several boards whose focus was community support for youth.
John’s love of sports resonated throughout his life. He played, he excelled, he spectated. He was a proud season ticketholder of the MN Vikings, and you were lucky if you were chosen by him to savor his delectable tailgating menus.
John leaves behind a legacy of family commitment, service to others, and loyalty to friends and coworkers/mentees. He has been described as a gentle soul with a wicked sense of humor, and he will be missed by so many.
John was preceded in death by his parents, John, Sr., mother Eunice, and stepmom Sarah. Survived by loving wife of 47 years, Mary (née Melloy); son Damon; granddaughter Ayanna; grandson Elijah; sisters Diane Confer and Anita Webster; brother-in-law Corey Webster; sister-in-law Kathy Belland, brothers-in-law Tim Melloy (Carol) and Mike Melloy (Diane); many dear nieces, nephews, cousins; and faithful “Golden Achiever” Tazz.
John’s Celebration of Life will be held Sunday, February 25, 2018, from 2-5 p.m. at Southview Country Club, 239 Mendota Road East, West St. Paul, MN 55118. There will be a short presentation at 2:30. Private inurnment with full military honors will be held in the spring at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
Special thanks to RN Christina of Heartland Home Health; RN Eunie of Heartland Hospice, a true angel; and Dr. K, RN Kristen, and staff of MN Oncology for their kind and personal attention to John and Mary.
Suggested memorials to: YouthLinkMN.org (whose mission is to support and empower young people on their journey to self-reliance); or FairwayFoundation.org (a youth golf program).
Twin Cities Cremation/The Funeral Directors