Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sad Sunday (Updated)

Francis Edmond Mitchell Nov 22 1925 - Jan 15 2012


For those who have followed this blog since I started it Oct 4th 2009 The second post I made on it titled (Saying Goodbye) read like this.

Now comes the hard part of saying goodbye to my family, friends and especially my elderly family members that lives in this area and all the time knowing that I won't ever see them again. I don't plan to ever come back this way again after I leave.

Unfortunately one of the elderly people I was referring to has gone on to a better place as of about 3:30 this morning. He was/is my uncle and a special uncle at that because he was more like a Dad since my dad got killed when I was 3 years old. Uncle Francis was there for us after it happened.

He was technically minded much like I am and I always enjoyed visiting with him and discussing technical stuff. I used to like to give him electrical and mechanical parts just to see what he would build using them.

Sadly, but probably fortunately he chose today to go rather than wait until tomorrow which is my aunt Wanda's birthday. I know that would have to have been hard for her to face her birthday tomorrow and future birthdays. Even worse how do you wish someone a Happy Birthday after they have just lost a loved one?

My family not only lost a beloved member, but we all lost one of the dwindling numbers of WWII Vets. He served in the Navy... I believe in the South Pacific both on a ship and on the ground at times. He always wanted to return to one of the islands he was on during the war, but was never able to pull that off. I guess that's a little like me wanting to visit Viet Nam again, but that will never happen.

He left behind his wife Wanda, a Daughter Arvilla and two sons Steve and Kaven along with granddaughters, grandsons, great grandchildren and a Great-Great Grandson. He will always be missed by all who knew him. I posted about one of his granddaughters leaving us last year (Paula) which I wasn't looking to happen when I left Plano.

Contributed by an Old Friend.


Francis and I grew up in the same Amarillo community in the late 30s and early 40s.  He was some 7 months older than me.  His dad was our local US Postman for many years.  We went to school together at the same elementary,  junior highschool  and highschools.  Francis joined the Navy before he finished highschool so did not see him again for a year or so until I met up again with him at Manus Island, Seeadler Harbor, t he Admiralty Islands.  This place was located south of the equator near the islands of New Guinea.  He served most of his Navy career there at Seeadler Harbor  preparing charts and maps for Navy ships that came into the lagoon there at Manus.  Manus was a major staging area for the US Navy ships as they prepared for the invasions of the various islands in the far Pacific area.  The ship I was on visited Manus twice both times loading some 3 million gallons of fresh water each time we were there.  We ferried these water cargos to ships near the battle front that did not have adequate water storage or evaporators to handle their crews needs.  My mom stayed in contact with Francis’ mother so she knew where Francis was located and passed that information to me.  So I knew that Francis was there.  Both times I went ashore and looked him up and spent some time with him.  He had his own boat and took me around over the harbor to different hideouts that he had in the area.  I will send you a photo of his boat.  He converted a Japanese boat which he used.  His commanding officer let him keep it.  He was quite proud of the boat.

After that, I did not hear from Francis for a whole bunch of years until one day he contacted me on the Internet to see if I was who he thought I was.  I was living in Houston at that time. Had been there for some 47 years moving there in June 1960. During the last several years I have exchanged e-mails with both Francis and Wanda.

Again, very sorry to learn of Francis’ death.  Please pass my  condolences to Wanda and the family.

Gene Leavelle

Pflugerville, TX


  1. Always hard to lose a loved one you have looked up to all your life. My condolences to your family and Aunt Wanda.

    1. Thanks BB She reads this blog as well as most of the other family. He did to.

  2. I wish to add my condolences to you and your family.

  3. So sorry David. That is tough. God bless and I'll keep you and your family in my prayers.


  4. I'm sorry to hear about your loss. Your uncle sounds like he was a very special person David. Best wishes and thoughts to you and his family.

  5. My condolences to you and your family. You are in my thoughts.

  6. I wish I could give you words of comfort that could easy the sorrow and hurt that you and your family are experiencing at this moment. However, nothing I or anyone can say can make your loss less painful.

    Please accept our heartfelt condolences to you, your aunt Wanda and the rest of your family.

  7. David - My condolences on your's and your family's loss. I, know how you feel, for I, too, have an aunt who is more like my mother than an aunt. My mother died when I was 16.

    May you gain strength from the memories you have of your uncle, solace knowing that he is beyond pain and comfort from knowing that he loved you too.

    Take care.

  8. So sorry to hear about your Uncle's passing, buddy! It's never easy, but we can find some comfort knowing they are in good hands and a better place!

    Condolences to the family and peace to you, buddy!

  9. Sorry to hear this, he sounds like an interesting man. My condolences.

    1. Thanks Bkid, Complaints and Qkid.

      One of his old friends sent me some interesting information about him and some pictures so I've updated the blog with that.