Obituary of Donald Mervin Mitchell
Donald Mervin Mitchell
June 5, 1938 – September 23, 2023
Celebration of Life
Saturday, October 28th 1:30pm
Martyn Funeral Home
464 Wyld Street
North Bay, Ontario P1B 1Z5
Surrounded by the love of his family Don passed away peacefully at the North Bay Regional Health Centre on September 23, 2023. Don was in his 86th year. He was the beloved husband and constant companion of Mary (nee Bavington), loving father of Wendy (Peter), Wanda (Jorge) and Mark (Lisa) and cherished and proud grandfather of Jennifer (Adam), Danica, Gary (Catherine), Jordan (Camille), Bianca, Tanya, Zachary and Elisabeth.
Donald Mervin Mitchell was born June 5, 1938 in Blind River, Ontario to Gwen and Earl Mitchell. Don and his five siblings, Ellwood, Gary, Earline, Max and Sharon grew up in Spanish, Ontario. Don was involved in the family trucking business during the development of Elliot Lake and helped out with the operation of Mitchells’ Tourist Camp.
Don attended Graceland College (now known as Graceland University) in Lamoni, Iowa where he received his Bachelor of Education degree. He later earned his Master of International Education and Guidance Counselling from Michigan State University. It was at Graceland where Don began his love story with Mary.
Don and Mary were married on June 4, 1960 in Woodbridge, Ontario. That summer they both worked at the John Island YMCA Camp. Mary worked in the kitchen and Don put his expertise to work as head of maintenance. He continued to support and share his skills with John Island Camp for the rest of his life.
A teacher to many, Don worked for 25 years for the Nipissing Board of Education (now known as the Near North District School Board). Don was in charge of a boarding home program for Indigenous students who came to North Bay to attend high school. In 1965-67, with Mary and a young family in tow, Don was principal and taught in the Indigenous communities of Waskaganish and Chisasibi on the shores of James Bay in Northern Quebec. An educator at heart, Don generously shared his knowledge, skills and time with everyone he met throughout his lifetime.
Don’s passions and expertise extended to his volunteer work. He and Mary worked on several Habitat for Humanity builds in Florida, Kansas City and Texas. They both also worked together with a charity called World Accord to build schools and homes in Honduras and El Salvador. With his many skills Don contributed to the beginnings of Camp Noronto, a Community of Christ campground in Monetville, Ontario. Once Noronto was established Don helped his friends operate Indigenous Cultural Camps on the grounds. He also spent many hours at work camps helping with the maintenance of the camp.
Don and Mary traveled to many places in their over 63 years together. On their 25th wedding anniversary they traveled to Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands visiting friends and exploring. Don and Mary shared a love of birding and over the years they have followed the flocks to Costa Rica, Panama, Belize and Mexico as well as to several places in Texas and Florida. They have enjoyed visiting many U.S. States, including Alaska, as well as Australia and New Zealand. In retirement Don and Mary have spent several winters in Pharr, South Texas at the Tip O Texas RV Resort where they enjoyed the warm weather. Don could often be found in the woodshop in Pharr creating works of art, teaching lathe work or planning and completing machinery repair and maintenance.
In 1972 Don and Mary took over the Mitchells’ Camp business and operated the camp every summer until the fall of 2018. They entertained many tourists and have wonderful friends and memories of those years. Don was an expert in the operation of boats and in the navigation of the North Channel of Lake Huron. In 2015 Don became the captain of the Gwennie. He would find every opportunity to rally up a crew for a tour on the Gwennie. He loved sharing the awesome beauty of the North Channel, especially the Benjamin Islands. Don was the happiest in one of his many shops or on the water with family and friends.
Don was a faithful member of the Community of Christ. He was ordained as a priest at Graceland University by Dr. Roy Cheville and later ordained and served as an elder.
Our family is grateful for the care Don received at NBRHC from the staff on A3 and C3, and Dr. Senior, Dr Leckie, Dr. Tuomi and medical student Natalie Hynes. We would also like to thank Dr. Ravi, Dr. Marras and Home Care for their compassionate care over the years.
Miigwech to Larry McLeod, Tyler Dokis and Cody McKenzie-Sackaney and the all the Mînowacihewin team at NBRHC for providing such a meaningful ceremony and space for our family to say goodbye to Don.
A celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, October 28, 2023 at Martyn Funeral Home at 1:30pm. Live streaming will be available through the link below:
A graveside service will take place in 2024 at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Spanish, Ontario.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to World Accord or Camp Noronto in memory of Don Mitchell. https://worldaccord.org/30022-2/
Donations to Camp Noronto may be made by cheque or by Interac e-transfer.
All cheques for Camp Noronto should be made out to Camp Noronto.
Mail cheques to:
7 Thorndyke Crescent
Brooklin, ON L1M 1G5
By Interac e-transfer:
Send e-transfer payment to:
Name: Camp Noronto
Email for e-transfer payment: firstname.lastname@example.org
Include “Donation” in message with e-transfer or by email to above address.
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