James Napoleon Mitchell, Jr., was born January 31, 1940, to Reverend James Napoleon Mitchell, Sr., and Lillie Mae Gregory Mitchell, in Charleston. Affectionally known to his family as Bubba, he was the eldest of four children and brother to Ida Florene Mitchell, John Willis Mitchell, and Arnold Bennett Mitchell.
James received his formal education in Kanawha County schools and attended Garnet High School, where he played basketball and was fondly called Mitch. After graduating high school in 1960, he enlisted in the US Army as an infantryman until November 1962, when he was honorably discharged. Upon returning to Charleston, Mitch worked in construction for several years until he transitioned to the entertainment industry, working as a bouncer for various night clubs. He was known for his happy-go-lucky attitude, bright smile, loud talking and laughter. Mitch could make fast friends with anyone over a game of pool, dominoes, or cards.
Mitch accepted Christ at an early age at Mt. Zion First Baptist Church in South Charleston, where his family attended. As an adult, he united with Grace Bible Church, Charleston, under the leadership of Pastor Matthew Watts.
Mitch had a great attitude with a bright smile and was generally heard before he was seen due to his booming voice and laughter. He was also known for his love of barbecue, big cars, and crisp suits.
Mitch’s ultimate pride and joy were spending time with his family. He leaves to cherish his memory two sons, Stewart Mitchell (Penny), and Charles Dogan, both of Charleston, WV, ten daughters, Ruth Ann Rowan (Rob), Sparta, TN, Tina Lacy (Damond), Charlotte, NC, Lulina Dogan, Durham, NC, Tammy Watts (Lawnelle), Columbus, OH, Veronica James-Whitestone (Glen), and April James, both of Charleston, WV, Lillie Mae James, Durham, NC, Jessica Jamison (James), High Point, NC, Whitney Mitchell, and Stacey Mitchell, both of Charleston, WV, brother, John Mitchell (Jewell), Charleston, WV, nieces, Joy Brown (Michael), Misty Fowler (Michael) and Amber White, nephews, James “JT” Mitchell, Jabbar Thompson, Antoine Brown, Paul “Jay” Medley and Omri Mitchell, 32 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren, and a host of great nieces, great nephews, cousins, close family friends, Annie Ruth James and Sandy Guthrie and friends.
Mitch is preceded in death by his father, Rev. James Mitchell, Sr., mother, Lillie Mae Mitchell, brother, Arnold Mitchell (Regina), sister, Ida Mitchell Cyrus (Eddie), niece, Chris Cyrus Benekin (Glenn), and nephew, Michael Mitchell.
James Mitchell, Jr., peacefully departed from his family and friends on Sunday, April 2, 2023, after a short illness. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten.
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