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Elbert Estis Mitchell

December 13, 1922 - October 04, 2010

Elbert Estis Mitchell was born December 13,1922, the third son of four children to loving parents, Orlando and Bertha Mitchell in Columbus, Ohio. He was actively involved in the Second Baptist Church, singing in the choir and active in the drama productions.

He studied engineering at Howard University, Ohio State University and proudly attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where his grandfather Rev. Dr. H. H. Mitchell I, brother Rev. Dr. H.H. Mitchell III and daughter, Schery also matriculated.

He served in the US Army Corps of Engineers during World War II, was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines and was honorably discharged.

He moved to Sacramento where he worked for the Department of Interior as a supervisor inspecting the electrical power lines through the state and near his beloved brother Rev. Louis Mitchell, a pastor for the Japanese Baptist church.

It is here he met the love of his life, Dorothy, who volunteered to hitch a ride on his motorcycle to a Japanese American Citizen's League picnic. This was a controversial and courageous act that led to 59 years of marital bliss.

They were married just two years after the miscegenation laws were revoked in California, which would have prevented their inter-racial marriage. The strength and power of their love affected everyone around them. Elbert was always quick to express that Dorothy was always the best part of his life.

During their time in Sacramento, Elbert and the late James Dodd (architect) were the first Black developers to build and manage their own apartment building.

The Mitchell’ s moved to East Palo Alto in 1959. Elbert worked for 31 years as a cartographer at the United States Geological Survey. He advanced to Branch Supervisor level GS 13 (levels 1-15). Elbert was instrumental in the development of the Improved Minority Participation in Earth Science program at the USGS exposing many young people to the earth sciences.

He was a community activist and was involved in the incorporation of EPA as well as many programs that increased educational opportunities that were not readily available in EPA including the Nairobi Saturday Day School.

Elbert Mitchell had unlimited love for his three children and was never shy to speak about their accomplishments or his grandchildren. He spent many weekends taking them to parks, camping, museums, fishing, boating and to the theater.

His son, Goro, achieved two master’s degrees in city planning and political science and both his daughters, Schery and Nanette,became physicians.

He was known to be an “ adopted” father to many. His greatest pride was his family and he was generous with his love to all those who knew him. He is survived by his devoted wife Dorothy Seto Mitchell, daughters Schery Mitchell-James, MD (Archie), Nanette Mitchell-Sorge, MD (David), son Goro Mitchell, grandchildren Briana and Elyse James, Jian and Che Sorge and Amaya Mitchell, a dear brother Rev. Dr. Henry H. Mitchell, sister-in-laws Janice Mitchell, Rose Seto, Daisy Seto and a host of beloved relatives, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

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