John R. Mitchell Sr., 79

John R. Mitchell Sr., 79, of Dagsboro, Del., formerly of Lancaster, Pa., passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family, on Saturday, April 6, 2019, at his home. He was born in Lancaster, Pa., on Jan. 10, 1940, son of the late Edward Mitchell and Edna (Adams) Mitchell.

Mitchell proudly served his country in the U.S. Army from 1964 to 1966, during the Vietnam War era. After his discharge from military service, he worked for a short period for Black & Decker and then Skyline Distributors, where he met his future wife, Donna J. Altland. They opened a personal care home called Mitchell Manor, which they owned and operated for 11 years before moving to Dagsboro in 1988. Once he “retired” to Delaware, he started a painting business, John Mitchell Painting & Wallpapering.

Mitchell loved painting and wallpapering homes in the beach community, working in his yard and gardening. He was an avid collector of Zippo lighters, and enjoyed refinishing antiques and woodworking. He loved spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren. He will be remembered as a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather.

In addition to his parents, Mitchell was preceded in death by his stepfather who raised him, Harold Pierce, and three siblings, George, Ed and Edna. He is survived by his loving wife of 45 years, Donna J. Mitchell; two sons, John R. Mitchell Jr. of Dagsboro and William Mitchell and his wife, Kelly, of Dagsboro; four grandsons, Austin, Nathen, Joel and Sam Mitchell; two sisters, Rose and Mary; and several nieces and nephews.

A celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m., with visitation after 1 p.m., on Saturday, April 13, 2019, at Melson Funeral Services, 38040 Muddy Neck Road, Ocean View, Del. Interment will follow at St. George’s Cemetery in Clarksville, Del. In lieu of flowers, the family suggested memorial contributions to Delaware Hospice; 100 Patriots Way; Milford, DE 19963. Condolences may be sent online at