Philip Clayton Mitchell, 96, died peacefully at his home on April 27, 2019 in Champaign. He was born to the late Herman Reginald Mitchell and Oka Hall Mitchell on February 15, 1923 in Princeton, KY, but lived most of his life in Champaign.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Annie Pruett Mitchell; brother, Reginald Mitchell and a daughter, Peggy Lietz.
He is survived by his daughter, Phyllis 'Pam' Blake (Dennis) of Athens, GA and 4 grandchildren, Katie Fricke (Russ) of Ft. Mill, SC, Jennie Blake of Brookhaven, GA, Emily Vliek (Bill) of East Lansing, MI, Jordan Lietz (Devin Richardson) of Champaign and 4 great-grandchildren, Blake and Leah Fricke and Will and Charlie Vliek; along with a large number of nieces and nephews.
Philip served his country during WWII as a US Navy pilot, flying PBY's patrolling the Atlantic coast. After the war, he returned to work for the IL Central Railroad as a train dispatcher for the next 27 years, transferring to Champaign in 1959. In 1968, he retired from the Railroad and was employed by the University of Illinois in the physical plant as an upholsterer. Earning retirement in 1987.
Philip was devoted Illini fan, both a member of the Quarterback Club and Rebounders. He was a lifelong reader and learner. Philip never saw a tool he couldn't master and often came to the aid of friends and family in making all manner of repairs. For many years (before he aged out), he was a regular blood donor at the American Red Cross. He was also a ham radio operator (W9DEA) since his teens and was proudest of having talked to both Pitcarin Island and the South Pole. He operated his own small, respected upholstery business from his basement until 2003.
The family would like to thank Philip's friend and housekeeper, Wanda Holt, the staff at Diversified Health Care Services and Midwest Home Care for enabling Philip to remain in his home.
The family will receive friends at a visitation on Wednesday, May 1 from 5-7 pm at Owens Funeral Home, 101 N. Elm St, Champaign. A graveside service will be held at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Princeton, KY, where Philip will be laid to rest.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the American Red Cross.
To send flowers to Philip's family, please visit our floral section.
American Red Cross
P.O. Box 4002018, Des Moines IA 50340