Mr. Billy Zane Mitchell, 80, of Noel, a longtime area educator and farmer, departed this life on Wednesday morning, Aug. 7, 2013, in the comfort of his home with his loving family at his bedside, after months of declining health.
Bill entered this life on Feb. 26, 1933, in Hulbert, Okla., to the late Barney Mitchell, Sr. and Norma (Hagan) Mitchell. He was raised in Hulbert and was a 1951 graduate of Hulbert High School. On May 21, 1956, in Hulbert, he was united in marriage to Betty Darlene Hatfield and to this union two daughters were born. Bill graduated from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah with a bachelor of science degree in education. In 1955 he came to Noel to begin his teaching career at Noel High School where he taught industrial arts and coached. After consolidation, he moved to McDonald County High School. He retired in 1986 after teaching 30 years and driving a school bus for 23 years.
He served 12 years on the McDonald County R-l School Board, was a 4-H livestock leader for 17 years and an honorary lifetime member of the University of Missouri Extension. He was one of the founders of the McDonald County Fair and oversaw the construction of the buildings. He spent many donated hours building the fair up and served 27 years as the chairman. He had also served on the Elk River Special Road District.
He was a member of the Mill Creek Baptist Church and spent many hours serving as chairman of the building committee when the old church was destroyed by fire. No one was more proud of God's new building than Bill was. He also served as the moderator for church business meetings.
He dearly loved his wife and nurse, Darlene, and was proud of his daughters, Kitty and Terry, son-in-laws, Rick and David, and his grandsons, Mitchell and Tyrel. The family is very close knit.
Bill was a soft-spoken man, always looked for the best in people and never met a stranger. He was always the first to meet new neighbors and invite them to church. He loved teaching and coaching kids and teaching his grandsons how to fish and repair anything that needed fixed. He would help out anyone in need, whether plowing gardens or loaning money. He enjoyed visiting at the coffee shop, going to cattle auctions, yard sales, looking after his cattle, cutting wood, teaching his son-in-laws how to pull a calf and especially baling hay. He always gave a person the benefit of the doubt, trusted everyone and always respected other people's opinions.
He was a father figure to many and cherished everyone's friendship. Bill's talent, knowledge and kindness will always be remembered and greatly missed. His family will miss him the most. Bill has fought a good fight, he has finished his course, he has kept the faith.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Willard Mitchell and Barney Mitchell, Jr.; and two sisters, Dorothy Loftin and Ora Lee Cummings.
Page 2 of 2 - Bill is survived by his wife of 57 years, Darlene Mitchell, of the home; two daughters, Kitty Collingsworth and husband, David, of Southwest City, Mo., and Terry Lett and husband, Rick, of Noel; two grandsons, Mitchell Lett and Tyrel Lett both of Noel; a sister, Pauline Howe of Hulbert, Okla.; several nieces and nephews; as well as a host of other family and friends.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Mill Creek Baptist Church in Noel, with Bro. Mark Hall officiating. Burial will follow in the Petty Cemetery near Noel. Those honoring his life by serving as pallbearers are Mitchell Lett, Tyrel Lett, Kenny Jarvis, Bill Stiles, Sam Thao and Eldon Smith. Virgil Winchester, John Willis, Slim Elliott and Tom Sharp will be serving as honorary pallbearers. Friends may pay their respects Friday from noon-6 p.m. in the Noel Chapel of the Ozark Funeral Homes. Memorials are being directed to the Mill Creek Baptist Church and contributions may be left at the funeral home. On-line condolences may be sent to the family at www.ozarkfuneralhome.com. Arrangements are under the personal care and direction of the Ozark Funeral Home, Noel.