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Stephen Allan Mitchell, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on Sunday, November 4, 2018 at the age of 61.
He was born January 6, 1957 in Ft. Bragg, N.C. to Inez M. (Harbauer) Mitchell and the late George M. Mitchell. He was the loving husband of Kimberly (Kvitle), model father to Thomas Mitchell and Sarah (Kevin) Flannery, and fun-loving “Poppy” to Piper Flannery and Graham Stephen Flannery. Mary (Tymeri) Cuervo-Mitchell, Laura (Joe) Brewer, and George (Gail) Mitchell knew him as the “best big brother ever.”
Steve graduated from Lincoln Community High School where he lettered in basketball and football. In 2008, he earned a BA from the National Labor College in Silver Springs, Maryland. Steve worked in skilled trades for Caterpillar for 41 years. He was a proud member of UAW Local 974. He served as Union Steward, Chief Steward, Grievance Committee Chairman, Safety Committeeman, Health and Safety Chairman, and Executive Board member. His greatest contribution to the membership was as the Plantwide Health and Safety Chairman for all 22,000 members of Local 974. His position was not paid, yet he worked tirelessly to insure the workers were safe and treated fairly. He was a man of great integrity. He spoke truth to power and did the right thing so consistently that he made it look easy. He hated injustice in any form and was an advocate for anyone being mistreated. Steve retired from Caterpillar in 2016 and began a second career as Specialist, Hazardous Materials Training Program for the University of Illinois.
Steve taught health and safety courses across the United States. He was recognized in 2010 by the Occupational Health and Safety Section of the American Public Health Association with the Tony Mazzocchi Award for lifetime service in occupational health and safety, and in 2018 he received the prestigious Walter Reuther Lifetime Achievement Award from the International UAW.
He was a great lover of the outdoors, and enjoyed hiking, biking, hunting, and scuba-diving. He was a skilled player of basketball and volleyball and enjoyed golf. He had a keen eye for morel mushrooms and an even keener eye for the silver lining in bad situations. He was remarkably thoughtful. Whether it was shoveling the driveways of neighbors, raising money for victims of industrial accidents, or just leaving sweet notes for his family around the house, he always went the extra mile to show his love to others.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Mason-White Funeral Home, Washington, IL on Saturday, November 10, 2018 with mingling and music from 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm and memories and open mic from 5:00 pm until 6:00 pm. Attire is casual and relaxed-just like Steve.
Steve was a very generous person, and he inspired many who worked with him. For this reason, the family established a University of Illinois scholarship in his name, the Stephen A. Mitchell Memorial Scholarship, so that he can continue to give, year after year, to someone who has passion for the Labor Movement. In lieu of flowers, or other gifts, donations to the scholarship would be appreciated. Online condolences at www.masonfuneralhomes.com.
Below is the scholarship information.
1) Make check payable to the University of Illinois Foundation
2) In the memo, write in Stephen A. Mitchell Memorial Scholarship
3) Include a short note stating gift is for Stephen A. Mitchell Memorial Scholarship.
4) Mail to:
School of Labor Relations Building, MC-504
145 School of Labor Relations and Employment Relations Building
504 E. Armory Ave.
Champaign, IL 61820
1) Go to: https://www.uif.uillinois.edu/Gifts/StartGiving.aspx
2) On this page, under the "other fund" section, write Stephen A. Mitchell Memorial Scholarship
3) The page following also allows giver to leave more information, such as if it is a memorial or tribute, etc.