Mark S. Mitchell passed peacefully at home on June 2, 2020, at the age of 69, due to complications related to ALS.
Mark was born June 28, 1950, to Joseph and Amy Mitchell in Gary, Indiana. Shortly after, he moved to La Grange Park, a suburb of Chicago, where he continued to live until he set off for college at UW Oshkosh. While in Oshkosh he participated in a variety of political and cultural activities, including a year as president of the Oshkosh Student Association.
He moved to Greeley, Colorado, in 1975 to join colleagues in opening a new high-end French restaurant – the Country Frenchman, where he served as Chef and Assistant Manager.
When the restaurant closed three years later, he moved back to Wisconsin, this time Madison, to begin working for the state’s now called Department of Children and Families. Thus began a 40-year career of serving the people of Wisconsin, first through oversight of the state’s foster care program, and eventually through extensive travel throughout the state to coordinate Wisconsin’s programs for the children of Wisconsin’s Native American Tribes. Mark was particularly proud of his role in writing the Wisconsin Indian Child Welfare Act (WICWA} of 2009.
Mark married Joni Marie Dick in 1986, and they raised two children – a daughter, Laura Kathleen, and a son, Ian James Scott.
He played and coached throughout his working career in Madison’s city softball leagues. He also had an avid interest in writing and literature, as well as music, poetry, and photography. He eventually amassed a collection of more than 50,000 books, photographs, CDs, audio books, vinyl albums, cassette tapes, and even a few reel-to-reel tapes. Once something entered his sphere of interest, it became a permanent part of his life.
His many lifelong friends can attest to the permanent attraction of Mark’s humorous and charismatic personality, a most notorious gift that he shared with everyone he met. He will be greatly missed by many.
He is survived by the members of his immediate family: Joni (ex-spouse), Laura, and Ian and daughter-in-law Brittney. He also is survived by his siblings: brother Donald Craig Mitchell and sister-in-law Jeanne Sowa; sister Paula Ann and brother-in-law George McClease; and brother James Scott and sister-in-law Margaret Mitchell. He also had a long list of many friends who provided immeasurable support and love to Mark and his family until the end, and no doubt will continue to honor his memory in the same way.
Memorial contributions can be made to Team Gleason, an ALS foundation, in Mark’s honor.