Kenneth Gene Mitchell…April 5, 1936 – April 16, 2015





Kenneth Gene Mitchell was born on April 5, 1936 in Anderson, Missouri. He was one of five children to Luther and Naomi Bailey-Mitchell. When Ken was in the fourth grade, the family moved from Missouri to Lamar, Colorado. He graduated from Lamar Union High School in 1954.

Ken served in the US Navy from 1954 – 1958 as a cryptographer. During his tour of duty, he traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan and other Far Eastern Countries. While in the service, Ken attended two years of school in Hawaii; he later continued his service with the Army National Guard in Lamar. Ken earned his Associate of Liberal Arts at Lamar Junior College and later earned his Certificate of Banking from the CU School of Banking in Boulder, CO.

Ken met the love of his life, Leona Ann Seals in 1955. He was 19 and she was 14, and it was love at first site for them both. They were married in 1959 and celebrated 55 years together last August; they were blessed with five children.

Ken first became employed with the First National Bank in Lamar in 1959 where he held many positions of progressive responsibility. When he left the bank in 1991, he was the executive Vice President. In April, 1993 Ken accepted the position of President of the First National Bank of Paonia, Colorado where he remained until his retirement in 2005. Ken mentioned many times how much he loved and enjoyed Paonia and all of their friends in the area.

In addition to being a loving husband, father and professional banker, Ken was very community minded and gave considerable time to the people and communities he lived in.  Ken served as the charter secretary for the Lamar Evening Lions. He was also a member of the Lamar Elks Lodge, and served on various boards focused on community enhancement. In 1974 he served as the Lamar Chamber of Commerce President. During this time he was privileged to be a part in the planning and establishment of Lamar’s Centennial Park which became a model for other communities in the area. In Paonia he was an active member of the Paonia Evening Lions and a participating member of the Paonia Christian Fellowship.

Throughout his life Ken enjoyed camping, fishing, woodworking and family time. It is clear that he cherished the camping and fishing trips to the Rockies with family and relatives, pulling the various camping trailers, family fishing contests and taking adventurous hikes through the mountains.  For many years, Ken took up the craft of printing.  With what started as a hobby became a small, basement-run business where in he provided printed publications and screen printing to businesses throughout the Lamar area.  Later in life, he enjoyed spending time with his six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Kenneth Gene Mitchell departed this life on April 16, 2015 following a long illness. Ken was preceded in death by his father and mother; step-father, Earl Moss; sister, Dona Lu; brother, Levi and twin daughters, Shawn and Dawn Mitchell.  He is survived by his wife, Leona Ann Seals-Mitchell; his children: Misty Mitchell of Delta, CO; Stephanie “Dede” (TJ) Blake of Grand Junction, CO and Todd (Kelly) Mitchell of North Hills, CA. He also is survived by his grandchildren: Kimbra (Matt) Birchler, Jeff Clark, Kali (Matt) Devor, Jordan Hall, and Maggie and Molly Mitchell, as well as great grandchildren: Cora, Mark, Emma and Abigail Birchler.  Also surviving are his siblings Clyde (Jo) Mitchell, Donald (Barbara) Mitchell, Max Moss and Virginia Earlene Moss-Allen, and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family asks for memorial contributions to be made to Hope West Hospice in Grand Junction, CO;

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