George Walton Mitchell passed away on June 25, 2020 in Alto, New Mexico. Born on October 2, 1944 in Dallas, Texas to Geraldine Bigham Mitchell and Jack Benson Mitchell, both deceased.
A proud and loving father, to his two sons Chuck and Logan, George leaves behind his surviving family, Chuck of Steamboat Springs, CO, wife Suzi and their children Kristina, Ellie and Rowan. Logan of Roswell, NM, wife Carmen and their daughter Katerina (Kitty), his first wife Carolyn Mitchell of Roswell, NM and partner Sharyl Browning of Alto, NM.
An avid outdoorsman and naturalist, George devoted many hours to identifying both friend and foe in the plant kingdom. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Range Management at Texas Tech University, a Masters in Range Science and MBA at Utah State University. He was awarded first place in the National Range Management Society competition for plant identification. Friends teased that he could tell you the genus and species of nearly every plant in New Mexico.
In Utah, George joined the Army Reserves, which he served for six years before embarking on a long career in banking. He started at the Utah Mortgage Loan Company in Logan, Utah on farm and ranch loans, before making the move to Pioneer Bank in Roswell, NM. Within three years he became president, and proudly served in that role for 22 years. He remained on the Board of Directors until his death.
George dedicated a tremendous amount of time to volunteering for organizations he cared deeply about. He was a past president of the Roswell Rotary Club, and honored to receive a Paul Harris Fellow. He volunteered for the Conquistador Council of Boy Scouts of America and was awarded the highest council honor award of ‘Silver Beaver.’ He was a volunteer ski patroller at Ski Apache and a member of Search and Rescue.
Nothing gave him more joy than being outdoors. When not banking, he spent hours at his favorite fishing hole near Bottomless State Park, east of Roswell teaching his sons to fish. He and the boys, along with his lifetime angling buddy Gary Damron circumnavigated the Caribbean, explored the Amazon and coastlines of Central and South America, Alaska and the northern US, fishing rods in hand.
George retired to Alto, New Mexico where he started Alto Weed Control. He was often seen around Ruidoso and the Hondo Valley, with a weed sprayer attached to his back. An avid skier, scuba diver and hiker, George made the most of getting out and exploring new ground, often traveling there on his beloved Harleys.
He leaves behind two generations of budding naturalists and outdoor lovers, who will think of Papa George every time they see a new plant or make a cast.
A memorial service honoring his memory will be announced at a later date. Donations can be made to the Conquistador Council of the Boy Scouts of America at 2603 N. Aspen, Roswell, NM88201 or a charity of your choice.