“Forrest Jay Mitchell III, 89, of New Kent, Va., passed away Friday, February 8, 2013. He was preceded in death by his wife, Isabelle Booth Mitchell. He is survived by his children, Forrest Jay Mitchell IV and wife, Jill F. Mitchell, Linda Conley and husband, Tom Conley, and Catherine Mitchell.”
He was an old man in his eighties on the occasion when he called to ask if I’d like to have a gift of his old riding lawnmower. When I showed up he helped me get it into my truck. He said he wasn’t nearly as strong as he used to be, but you couldn’t have proved it by me. All of this despite his repeated battles with cancer.
Back then he was taking his brother Bobby — my father — to weekly kidney dialysis. He pushed Dad’s wheelchair up and down ramps and loaded and unloaded the chair from the trunk. Although he loved a good joke or a funny story, and I never saw him cry, Forrest cared deeply for his family. The last time we talked on the phone, he confided that he missed having my father to talk to. Without complaint, he said he was ready to go.
I will remember Uncle Forrest at his best — playing guitar and singing Margaritaville, telling jokes, spinning stories about life in Highland Park, smiling and laughing.
He was of America’s Greatest Generation, and I’m proud to call him my blood.