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Honorary Chief Francis J. Mitchell

June 1, 1926 ~ January 2, 2023 (age 96) 96 Years Old
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Honorary Chief Francis J Mitchell, 96, Brownville

Brownville, NY- Francis J Mitchell, 96 and a half from Brownville, passed away on Monday, January 2, 2023, surrounded by family under the care of Hospice. Francis lived a life of devotion to his faith, family, and country.

Born on June 1, 1926 in Rutland, NY, son of Martha (Shannon) and Leo Mitchell. He joined the Navy at 17 with his mother’s permission as long as he promised to return to school and get his diploma. He was discharged from the Navy in June 1946. He kept his promise and returned to get his diploma at IHA where he met his sweet pea, Elizabeth Ward. He was a World War II veteran serving in the Pacific on the U.S.S. Oneida. He received 7 medals during his service. The World War II Victory Medal, American Theatre Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, China Service Medal, Naval Reserve Merit Service Medal, The Domain of the Golden Dragon, Ancient Order of The Deep. He received 1 star in the Battle of Okinawa. He attended the Watertown School of Commerce from 1947 until 1949. He served in the Naval Reserves until 1983. He was inducted as Chief Petty Officer E.M.C. on June 19, 2014. He was chosen to be part of the Honor Flight in 2019.

He married Elizabeth W. “Betty” Mitchell on June 16, 1951 at Holy Family Church in Watertown, NY. Betty was the love of his life. Betty worked for the NY Telephone Co. as an operator for 34 years, she passed away March 15, 2015.

Francis worked at NY Air Brake for ten years and for NYS Department of Transportation as a traffic signal tech for 26 years retiring in 1986.

He was a Life Member of the Watertown Elks Lodge #496, American Legion Post 583, and President of the CSEA, Black River Valley Chapter for 20 years. In the early 70’s Francis worked with then Governor Rockefeller implementing safety measures still in place today.

Among his survivors are his daughters Kathleen E. Mitchell, Brownville, NY and Julie A. Rockwood, Canton, NY; four grandchildren; Timothy J. and Rachel Pond, Pawcatuck, CT; Derek and Sara Pond, Brownville, NY; Heather andTravis Jandrew, Massena, NY; and Benjamin and Kara Rockwood, Gouverneur, NY. 7 great grandchildren, Malory Pond, Declan Pond, Teagan Pond, Ava Jandrew, Cole Jandrew, Charlotte Rockwood, and Emma Rockwood; a sister-in-law, Erma Patchen, Gouverneur, NY and several nieces and nephews.

Besides his parents and beloved wife Betty, he is predeceased by two brothers, Robert and Maurice Mitchell and three sisters, Louise Gardner, Gertrude Siver and Mary Ellen Gardner. His brother-in-law, Thomas Ward.

Francis was a devoted Husband, Father, and Papa. He enjoyed fishing, boating on Lake Ontario, golfing with his daughter and grandsons up till he was 94, and spending time with family. Betty and Francis spent their winters at their home in Zephyrhills, FL and summers at “Camp Betty” on Pillar Point.

The family would like to thank his amazing caregiver, Cindy Clark.

Calling hours will be 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, January 5 th  at the Hart & Bruce Funeral Home, Watertown.

A prayer service will be 10:15 a.m. Friday, January 6 th  at the funeral home followed by an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass at Immaculate Conception Church, Brownville.  

Burial with military honors will follow in Glenwood Cemetery

Donations may be made to Hospice of Jefferson County or to Sacred Heart Foundation.

Online condolences may be made at www.hartandbrucefh.com

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Honorary Chief Francis J. Mitchell, please visit our floral store.


January 5, 2023

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Hart & Bruce Funeral Home
117 N. Massey Street
Watertown, NY 13601

Prayer Service
January 6, 2023

10:15 AM
Hart & Bruce Funeral Home
117 N. Massey Street
Watertown, NY 13601

Funeral Mass
January 6, 2023

11:00 AM
Immaculate Conception Church

Brownville, NY

Military Honors
January 6, 2023

12:15 PM
Glenwood Cemetery

Watertown, NY


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