William Thanal Mitchell was born August 7, 1927 in Gonzales, Texas to Dock Spears and Ivy Barnett Mitchell. As a child, William helped his family work in the cotton fields near Gonzales, TX. He got his first job with Dow Chemical Company as a truck driver in Freeport, Texas. He was drafted into the U.S. Army near the end of War World II and served overseas in Wiesbaden, Germany with the 332nd Engineer General Service Regiment. After his service, he returned to Dow Chemical Company and soon met and married Earl Lee Purvis on May 23, 1947.
They began their married life in Freeport, Texas living in an apartment owned by Dow Chemical. After a long recovery from a maiming automobile accident in 1948, William was unable to continue his career as a truck driver. He and Lee relocated to Houston where they built a home in north Houston on Warwick Street where they lived and raised their family until 1970. Shortly after moving to Houston, William decided to go to Modern Barber College which launched his lifelong career. After working for another barber for a few years, he built and opened "Mitchell's Barber Shop" on Aldine Westfield Rd., a block from their family residence. He and Lee later built another new home and moved their family to Woodbranch Village in New Caney, Texas in 1970. He continued to commute for many years until selling his Houston shop, and opening "494 Barber Shop" in New Caney. He eventually sold this shop to Ronnie Blackerby, a friend and co-worker, but continued to barber there part- time until May 2004 when he suffered a debilitating stroke. He loved being a barber and meeting the interesting people who became faithful customers and friends. He also drove a school bus part-time for New Caney ISD for 13 years.
Faithful in serving the Lord, William was always involved in church activities and was a leader in his church and community. He was admired and respected by those who knew him. While living in Houston, he and Lee were members of Woodsdale Baptist where he served as a Deacon for many years. After moving to New Caney, they were members of Bethel Baptist in New Caney and First Baptist New Caney where he was also a Deacon. William was also involved in helping start three mission churches in Houston and New Caney. He was also an active member of the Gideon's, an organization that spreads God's word by donating and placing Bibles.
William liked to be busy. He enjoyed gardening, playing dominoes, fishing, and traveling around the United States. He especially loved traveling on Amtrak passenger trains. He also enjoyed old-time gospel music and hymns.
William had lots of friends, loved life, and being around people. He was proud of his family and has left them with many wonderful memories. He always set a good example for his children and grandchildren, and encouraged them to work hard and get a good education. But most importantly, he taught them the love of Jesus.
He lived the last 6 years of his life in 2 different nursing homes after a stroke in 2004. God blessed him with the birth of his first great grandson during his last year.
W.T. leaves behind his wife of 63 years, Lee Purvis Mitchell; siblings, Alvis Mitchell and Ruth Mitchell Cox; children, William Allen Mitchell and his wife Theresa, Sylvia Mitchell Holdt and her husband Ken, Mark Everett Mitchell and his wife Donna; grandchildren, Stephen Mitchell and his wife Wendy, Scott Mitchell and his wife Jennifer; Danielle Mitchell, Michelle Mitchell, Kevin Holdt and his wife Ashley, Kerri Holdt Riddell and her husband Jacob, Stacy Mitchell Johnson and her husband Ben, Allen Mitchell, Stephanie Mitchell, and Richie Rodgers II along with a great grandchild, Logan Kenneth Riddell.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Doc and Ivy Mitchell, his daughter Cheryl Mitchell Rodgers, and siblings Leslie Mitchell, Marvin Mitchell, Ethyl Nance, Jesse Mitchell, Evelyn Glorioso, Melvin Mitchell, and Alvin Mitchell.