Donald Sumner Mitchell passed from this life to the next on September 26, 2019. He was born in Coffeyville, Kansas to Frederick Sumner and Ida Belle Mitchell on August 3, 1920. He graduated from Field Kindley High School where he was in school plays and on the school debate team, winning several statewide tournaments. He lettered in athletics, being on both swim team and tennis team, was president of the school band, president of the school Photography Club, co-editor of the school newspaper, business manager of the high school yearbook, in the National Honor Society and an officer on the school Student Council. As a teenager, being unable to afford to buy them, he built his own synchronized flash camera from a Kodak box camera and built the Enlarger and Printer for his Photographic Dark Room.
Mitchell received a degree in Finance from the University of Kansas, where he was vice president and song leader of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. At KU he was on the varsity debate team, a member of the university business fraternity, university photography club and the university dramatics club, where he was an actor in a number of university plays and radio productions. He served a 4-year tour of duty in WW II where he was commissioned and served as commanding officer of the detachment of patients at the 1500-bed Birmingham General Hospital in Van Nuys, California and was also manager of the hospital Officers' Club.
In 1948, after his discharge from the army, Mitchell moved to Tulsa, where he first was employed as account executive at Watts, Payne Advertising agency, assigned to the OTASCO account. Later, he joined Advertising, Incorporated as senior vice president. He was recognized as a pioneer in the development of innovations in radio and television advertising and production and in audio-visual techniques for trade shows which he produced in seven states and the Bahamas.
Participating in numerous civic projects, Mitchell was active in the Tulsa March of Dimes, Tulsa Community Chest, Salvation Army and Junior Chamber of Commerce. An officer in the Jaycees, he served as secretary, vice president and Chairman of the Public Relation Committee and later Chairman of the Religious Activities Committee, which won top awards in both state and national competition. Mitchell also won the state Speak Up Jaycee contest, and was a finalist in the national speaking competition.
Mitchell was musical producer of the 1964 Tulsa Easter Pageant, initiated the Tulsa Christmas Shopping Tour for Underprivileged children, and created the Jaycee Award. In 1954, Mitchell invited J.C. Penney to Tulsa for a speaking engagement. Mr. Penney accepted, and Mitchell hosted his appearance here.
In 1955, Mitchell received the award of Outstanding Young Man of Tulsa. In 1966 he won the Silver Addy award for excellence in advertising and in civic contributions.
He was a charter member of Kirk of the Hills, where he served as Elder and was Chairman of the Deacons.
Besides his work in advertising and on civic projects, Mitchell had financial interests in several small Tulsa companies, real estate and residential rental properties.
He had been a member of Rolling Hills Country Club and of the Sand Springs country club now known as the Canyons at Blackjack Ridge. He retired from regular employment at the age of 58, devoting his time to family and business interests. At the time of his death, he was a resident of Inverness Village retirement community where he participated in singing groups, talent contests, wrote stories for the local house newsletter and wrote song parodies featuring various Inverness residents and employees.
Mitchell is survived by his wife, Frances; three children, Linda Fields (husband John) of Bixby, Cynthia McGhee (husband George) of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Kenneth (wife Gwendolyn) of Tampa, Florida; two grandchildren, David Fields and Mark Fields of Seattle, Washington; and 7 great grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Inverness Village, 3800 W. 71st St., Tulsa, OK 74132 at 1 PM on Friday, October 4, 2019.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Kirk of the Hills, 4102 E. 61st Street, Tulsa, OK 74136.