Ila ‘Dee’ Mitchell

October 29, 1931 – February 5, 2018

Ila “Dee” Mitchell, 86, passed away peacefully at her home located near Raton on Feb. 5, 2018. Dee was born in Amarillo, Texas, to James Eddie and Veta Park. During her early childhood years, she lived on a dairy and wheat farm south of Amarillo with her parents, younger brother Dick, and grandparents James and Leona Park. She had many fond memories of her time playing with the cousins from Randal, Potter, and Moore counties. In 1945, her dad and grandfather moved the family to begin ranching at Clapham, New Mexico. Summers at the Clapham ranch would find the bunkhouse full of the “mean ole boy” cousins from the city. She finished grade school at Clapham, graduated Clayton High School in 1950 and earned a Bachelor of Science in Education at NM A&M College in Las Cruces. Dee began her teaching career in southern New Mexico but marriage to Jake Mitchell in 1956 brought many moves and four children. She moved her family to northwestern Arkansas in 1963 where her parents and brother had bought their Yocum Creek ranch. Yocum Creek brought many loved friends and memories. From working in the tomato patch to floating the creek, this life presented blessings upon blessings. During this time, Dee taught at Berryville Public Schools, retiring in 1986 after 30-plus years of teaching. She was the much-loved Mrs. Mitchell, teacher of many Carroll County residents, remembered for her devotion to literature and reading classic stories to her students. After retirement, she continued to teach through local adult literacy programs and for Tyson Foods in the Tyson Improvement Program. Dee moved back to New Mexico in 1999 to be near her daughters and grandchildren.

At the age of 18 months, Dee was baptized into the United Methodist Church. She spent her life in the church, singing in the choir, teaching VBS songs, chaperoning youth groups, and traveling with UMW. Singing was her passion; singing for Cattlemen’s banquets, community choral groups, weddings, and funerals. After moving to New Mexico, she helped with Shuler theatrical productions, singing on stage, and in the choral box. Dee spent many hours with her sister-in-law, Dolores Park, researching the family genealogy, traveling many miles, walking cemeteries and visiting county court houses to find the stories of the family. Dee was a master seamstress, learning to sew at an early age. Her quilts were masterpieces, examples of a lost art. As the years progressed so did her beloved collection of rocks, artwork, and flowerbeds, each holding a memory and a story.

Dee is survived by her daughters and husbands, Jonnie and Ed Warnken of Texas, Mary B. Mitchell-Ellis and Rob Ellis of Des Moines, New Mexico, and Kay Mitchell-Medina and Lonny Medina of Raton; niece and husband Tracy Ann and John Deniz of Green Forest, Arkansas; stepchildren Cassie Jane Goodwin and Dana Haynes; grandchildren Jeremy, David, JoVeta, Jonathan, Mary, James, Rebecca, Erica, Ila Raine and Lijah; and 12 great grandchildren.

Dee was preceded in death by her mother and father, James Eddie (Jim) and Veta Park, brother and sister-in-law, Dick and Dolores Park, and son, James Dee (Scooter) Mitchell.

Memorial service will be held at Yocum Cemetery, County Road 625, Oak Grove, AR 72660. Date and time are pending. Memorial donations may be made to Yocum Cemetery Fund, 8111 Highway 103 North, Green Forest, AR 72638.

Arrangements and celebration of love for Ila Dee Mitchell are under the direction of the Yaksich-Long Funeral Home of Raton, New Mexico.