Theodore “Ted” Mitchell
Theodore “Ted” Mitchell, age 100, died peacefully at home with family in Levittown, PA, on Saturday, August 5 after a July 30 stroke.
Born February 21, 1917 in Somersworth, NH, he grew up in Newark, NJ, where father William and mother Dimitra had a grocery, and on their farm in Anthony, NJ, with siblings Katherine, Polly, Helen, Peter, Michael and Joan.
He graduated from Lebanon Township Elementary in 1931, spent summers in the 1930s at Camp Wo-Chi-Ca, an interracial co-ed summer camp in Port Murray, NJ, where he sang with Paul Robeson around a campfire, and graduated from High Bridge High School in 1935 as Salutatorian. He attended Dana College of the Univ. of Newark, and received a B.A. in 1942 from Newark State Teachers College. Described in college as “wearing a perpetual smile,” he brought optimism and a generosity of spirit to his whole life.
In 1940, he married Wanda Pasek, a librarian he met in 1939 at the Newark Public Library, living in Newark and Bloomfield, NJ. Drafted in 1942, he was honorably discharged by the Army as a conscientious objector. A schoolteacher in the 1940s, by 1950 he was selling life insurance, moving across the country with his wife and a son, Ted Gary Mitchell, born in 1952. Returning east in 1954 to establish an insurance agency in Philadelphia, he moved his family to Levittown in 1955 and his business to Bucks County, PA, in 1960. Though his wife’s struggle with alcoholism led to divorce in 1970, he cared for her until her 1993 death.
In the 1970s he founded the National Business Association and NBA Credit Union to serve small businesses and their employees. In 1974 he married Margaret Sterner and in 1987 they returned to the Red Rose Gate home in Levittown he established in 1957, where he continued to live after her 2015 death. Into his 90s at that home he nurtured an organic garden with varied produce and cherished fig trees, sharing its bounty. In business and life he espoused a passion for nutrition as the key to health and a lifelong commitment to peace, civil rights and social justice.
He is survived by sister Helen Bloomer of Florham Park, NJ, brother Michael Mitchell of Reston, VA, son Gary of Highland Park, NJ, granddaughters Joanna Naples-Mitchell and Katy Naples-Mitchell of NYC, and many nieces, nephews and their children.
A one hour viewing will be held at the Coughlin Funeral Home, 15 Academy St., Califon, NJ 07830, at 12:00 noon on Sunday, August 13, with burial to follow at Lower Valley Union Cemetery, in Califon.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102,https://www.afsc.org, founded in 1917, the year of his birth, to assist victims of war and build a just and peaceful world.