A LIFE WELL LIVED: A TRIBUTE TO MAYOR BOB MITCHELL

Our dear and quite unique mayor, Bob Mitchell, passed away unexpectedly of acute myeloid leukemia on July 30, 2018.

Bob was everything a mayor should be: he listened (rather than judged), he was respectful (rather than pretentious), he critically analyzed all available information before making tough decisions (rather than reflexively imposing personal preferences), he thanked people for their contributions (often with a hand-penned note), he welcomed all who entered City Hall (regardless of age), and with his very unique sense of humor, he always made us laugh.

Bob was proud of the City of Medina.  He was happy to grill hotdogs on Clean-Up Day, show Boy Scouts what mayors really do, cut ribbons at opening ceremonies and ride shotgun with police officers on Night to Unite.  He often took time at City Council meetings to share a bit of personal wisdom, and to speak of our good fortune to live in Medina and to be Americans.   Bob reminded us, by his words and conduct, of the utmost importance of civility and kindness in the public arena.

Bob was a gentle man who believed that giving was more important than having or taking. And he gave back in many ways.  In addition to his public service, Bob was a dedicated member of the boards of Global Minnesota, the Trust for Public Land and the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library.

Above all, Bob was a consummate family man.  He often spoke of Lucy, his wife of more than 40 years, with a twinkle in his eye reminiscent of someone recounting the details of his first date.   After witnessing the tribute his children, Ella, Ned and David, paid to Bob at the memorial service on August 3, 2018, I have no doubt that Bob was a special dad who (through example and not lecture) gifted to his offspring a love of nature, a thirst for adventure, intellectual curiosity and an appreciation of the Golden Rule.

Before and after our Council sessions, and during breaks from our sometimes tedious deliberations on city business, Bob’s skill at story telling revealed his love of exploration.  We discovered that this humble man, slight in physical build, had raced cars, jumped horses, bicycled through Myanmar, attacked mountains on skis, tethered himself to trapeze artists and bungee cords, and traveled the world, often to places the rest of us would not dream of touring, usually joined by any combination of Lucy, Ella, Ned and David.

After serving on the Medina Planning Commission, Bob was elected to the City Council; he was a member of the Council from 1985 to 1992.  He was elected mayor in 2014 and represented us all, as mayor, with good humor and kindness, for four years.  His wit, intellect, good teachings and integrity will be missed deeply by all of us at City Hall.  We, with his family, celebrate Bob’s exceptional life: a life well lived.

-Kathleen Martin, Acting Mayor
August 4, 2018

©All rights reserved/Kathleen Martin 2018

Other Tributes to Mayor Mitchell:

‘He liked to go fast. And he did:’ Medina Mayor Bob Mitchell remembered for being stalwart – Published in Lakeshore Weekly online on August 7, 2018

Medina Mayor Mitchell dies – Published in Crow River News on August 2, 2018

Obituary for Robert G. Mitchell, Jr. – Published in the Star Tribune on July 31, 2018