J.R. Mitchell was born on December 28, 1926, in Buffalo, Wyoming, to Robert E. Mitchell and Stella Bowline Mitchell. He attended the Clearmont Schools for 12 years. During that time he was a member of the Piney Beef 4-H Club and earned his first heifer by thinning and hoeing three acres of sugar beets. After graduation, he was drafted into the Army and served in the Army of Occupation in Toyko, Japan, as a clerk-typist. He was discharged in 1947 with a rank of corporal.
In 1952, he married Helen Cook and they ranched near Clearmont for 42 years until they retired and moved to Sheridan in 1994. While at Clearmont, Helen and Junior had an egg laying business called Clearcreek Eggs for sixteen years, and they raised and showed Registered Suffolk Sheep. He was an avid supporter of 4-H and FFA. He enjoyed being a weather observer, completing 40 years with the US Government and receiving the John Campanius award.
During his lifetime, he helped organize the Cadiz Corporation, a reservoir company designed to help save agricultural water in the county. He also served as a director of the Lower Clearcreek Water Users Association and the Pratt and Ferris Ditch Company; served on boards of the Clearmont School District, the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Board and on the Chamber of Commerce Agricultural Resource Development Committee; and he was a member of Farmers Union, Farm Bureau, Wyoming Wool Growers, the Sheridan County Wool Pool and AARP. In 1980, he was picked as outstanding man in agriculture. After moving to Sheridan, he served as Chairman of the Woodland Hills Improvement District and helped get the road paved into the district.
Junior was well known for his gardening abilities and raised produce to sell, give away and show at the county fair. He also enjoyed reading, bowling, and doing water filings and playing cards.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Helen Mitchell, four children; Betty Mitchell of Sheridan, Bonnie Drake (Lester) of Buffalo and Arvada, Robert Mitchell (Christal) of Miles City, Montana, and Jessie Mitchell of North Carolina. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Jennifer and Levi Drake, Alexander, Brandon and Nicholas Mitchell. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Mary Jones.
A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, December 4th at 10:00 am at Kane Funeral Home with Officiating. Inurnment to follow at Sheridan Municipal Cemetery with Military honors with a reception to be held at the American Legion Club. The Pastor officiating the service will be Pastor Marty Rostad.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Senior Center, 211 Smith Street, Sheridan, WY 82801, or the donor’s choice.
Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with the arrangements.