Obituary of John C. Mitchell
John C. Mitchell (Jack), passed away on July 3, 2020 at home with his family nearby. Born on April 8, 1945 in Paterson, N.J. to John D. and Lillian Whitford Mitchell, he was raised in Clifton, N.J. He attended Pope Pius XII High School, Passaic, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from Paterson State College, a Master of Arts Degree in Administration and Supervision from William Paterson College, and ultimately an Ed. D. in elementary education from Rutgers University. Jack began his teaching career as a fifth-grade teacher at Mount Hebron School, Montclair, N.J. in 1967. In January 1968, knowing that he was going to be drafted, he signed up to join in July so that could attend Officer Candidate School to become an officer. On June 22, 1968 he married Eileen (Zelinsky) at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Bloomfield, N.J. Three weeks later he was off to Fort Dix for basic training, then to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for Advanced Infantry Training and OCS. In July, 1969 he was on his way to Vietnam as a 2nd Lieutenant and served for a year with the 101st Airborne Division as a forward observer for an artillery battery and then as executive officer at a rear artillery base. He served with distinction and was awarded a Bronze Star with V for valor among other service medals. He left Vietnam in June, 1970 and in July was assigned to compete his last year of active service at Fort Sill. In July, 1971 he returned to Clifton and his teaching job at Mount Hebron. In September, 1972 he and his family, which included two sons, Christopher and Ian, moved to Freehold where a daughter, Tara was born in 1974. Upon moving to Freehold Jack began teaching in the Toms River Schools until he retired in 2002. He also continued his Army career in the U.S. Army Reserves, eventually retiring as a Lt. Colonel. He had many passions in life. Family and friends were number one. His friends enjoyed his sense of humor about himself and his sarcastic wit. They were like brothers. He loved entertaining at our house where he instructed people who wanted to help clean up on the proper way to clean dishes before they went in the dishwasher. Teaching was a perfect fit. He was known as a dedicated, outstanding, organized and structured, yet compassionate and funny person. History, math, and grammar were his forte. Outside of the classroom anyone who misspoke was quickly corrected. Music was another passion, especially Barbershop Harmony. In his 60 years as a member of the Barbershop Society he sang in over dozen quartets and directed the Freehold Battleground Chorus for over 20 years and won several division and district championships in that capacity. Another passion was his lawn and garden. If a weed dared to show its head, he quickly shot it with a shot of weed killer. He took great pride when people commented on how his lawn was the nicest in the neighborhood. He had a strong work ethic and tremendous strength and courage while battling several illnesses during the past seven years. He created an amazing life for his family, was the best role model for his sons, protector and hero for “Daddy’s little girl”. In the words of our granddaughter, “I loved all of the times I spent with him especially when he taught me the dog-eye and double dog eye”. Lastly, he and I made a great team for 52 years. Whatever trait one of us lacked, the other made up for it. Jack was predeceased by his parents, brother George, and son Christopher. Surviving are his wife of 52 years, Eileen; son Ian and his wife Tracy Mitchell; daughter Tara Tomlin; granddaughter, Taylor; grandson, Andrei; sisters Joan and husband Paul Lenk and Nancy and husband Rudy Raichle; and several nieces and nephews. Interment will be private at Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Donations may be made to Wounded Warriors Project or a charity close to your heart. A Mass and celebration of life will take place at a later date. Arrangements are being handled by the Higgins Memorial Home, Freehold.