J.D. was born on his grandfather Fletcher’s farm on E Highway, across the road from the Oak Grove Free Will Baptist Church, north of Norwood. Later, his family moved to a new farm that was called “Liberty Tree Farm” on Kemper Road. J.D. went to elementary school at Mountain Valley and then went to high school in Mountain Grove, Missouri.
After high school, in 1952, J.D. entered the U.S. Navy. He served in Korea, on ships in the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, and Caribbean and also in the Cuban Blockade. He also was a recruit company commander who trained Navy recruits in Great Lakes, Illinois. After 20 years of active duty service, he transferred to fleet reserves where he served an additional 10 years before retiring from the Navy on January 1, 1982 with the rank of Boiler Tender Chief Petty Officer, BTC E-7.
J.D. was united in marriage to Joyce Ann West on April 22, 1960 in Norfolk, Virginia.
J.D. was saved at a young age at Morning Sun Church and was baptized in Whetstone Creek on November 16, 1947. Much later in life he answered the call to preach and became a licensed Free Will Baptist minister. He served as pastor for two years at Walnut Grove Free Will Baptist Church in Walnut Hill, Illinois. Under his leadership, the congregation grew and required a church building expansion.
J.D. was a faithful member of Oak Grove Free Will Baptist Church at the time of his passing. He loved his church family and enjoyed participating in worship and fellowship with his brothers and sisters in Christ.
In his spare time, J.D. enjoyed fishing, riding horses, wood working, and breeding and showing his basset hound dogs at AKC dog shows.
Besides his parents, J.D. was preceded in death by two brothers, Dean and Larry; one sister, Linda Archer; and one daughter-in-law, Lisa Mitchell.
He is survived by his wife, Joyce, of Georgetown, South Carolina; one son, Daniel “Danny” J. Mitchell of Millersville, Missouri; one grandson, Daniel J. Mitchell, II of Millersville; one sister, Wanda Young and husband Tom of Hartville, Missouri; one brother-in-law, Jerry Archer of Cabool, Missouri; one sister-in-law, Joy Mitchell of Springfield, Missouri; many nieces and nephews, and other family, friends, and church family who will greatly miss him.
Visitation was held Friday, July 21, 2017, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Craig-Hurtt Funeral Home. Funeral services were held Saturday, July 22, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. at Oak Grove Free Will Baptist Church, Norwood, with Pastor Jim Hurt and Rev. R E Helsley officiating. Song selections were “Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot,” “Long Black Train,” and “He Will Roll You Over The Tide.” Daniel Mitchell, Dan Mitchell, Larry Mitchell, Jr., Shelby Mitchell, Tim Privett, Terry Marah, and Jeff Young served as pallbearers. Burial with full military honors was in Mountain Valley Cemetery under the direction of Craig-Hurtt Funeral Home, Mountain Grove.
The family requested memorial contributions be made to Disabled Veterans or American Cancer Society c/o the funeral home.