William Joe Mitchell passed away at home on Oct. 30, 2009 with his family around him, after a long battle with cancer. He was born in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Aug. 19, 1940, to Ted W. Mitchell and Winifred Kraaipoel Mitchell.
The family moved to Napa Valley, Calif. in 1941, where his father worked at the Naval Ship Yard in Benicia, Calif. In 1947, the family moved to Ukiah, Calif., where Joe finished his schooling from first grade to 12th grade, graduating in June 1958.
In November 1958, Joe joined the United States Air Force. While in the service and stationed at Taipei, Taiwan, he met and married Lin Chin tze and they had two daughters.
After leaving the service, he worked at the Masonite Corporation plant in Ukiah, as a mill wright until 1979, when he moved to Moab. He worked at Atlas Mill until its closure in 1984, then worked for a contractor covering over the tailings pond and removing buildings. He then went to work for Key Construction, where he worked until he became too sick to work.
Joe started his race-flagging career in Ukiah and Lakeport, Calif. and continued after moving to Moab. He was president of the Racing Association in Ukiah. He flagged many races in Moab and Price, Utah, Cortez, Olathe, and White Water, Colo., as well as Aztec, N.M., and was known by many at “The Flag Man.”
He is survived by his wife of 16 years, Barbara, of Moab, daughters, Corina Cunningham of Pinetop, Ariz., and Sophia (Rod) Beeman, of Gold Canyon, Ariz.; sons, Timothy (Crystal) of San Diego, Calif., Jody, of Reno, Nev. and Joseph, (Autumn) of Moab, Utah; three stepsons, Tony Schultz (Aidai) of Kyrgyzstan, Shane Schultz, stationed at Ft. Riley, Kan., and Wes (Mandy) Schultz of Bagdad, Ariz; two sisters, Margaret Mackler of Redwood, Calif., and Ruth (Philip) Frisbie of Ukiah, Calif.; 13 grandchildren, one great-grandson, 13 step-grandchildren, two step-great-grandchildren, and numerous other family members.
Memorial services will be held at Moab Baptist Church on Kane Creek Blvd on Friday, Nov. 6, at 11 a.m. Inurnment will follow the memorial service, with a reception afterwards.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to a favorite church or charity.
Joe will always be remembered for his friendly smile, his kindness and generosity. He never met a stranger and made us all feel special. He will be dearly missed by family and friends, many of whom he looks forward to seeing in Heaven.