May 3, 1936 – Aug. 31, 2013
D. Lee “Fuzzy” Mitchell III, 77, of Woodland, passed away at his home on Aug. 31, 2013. Lee was born May 3, 1936, in Berkeley, the son of Dickey Leroy Mitchell Jr. and Beulah Marie Andrews. He was preceded in death by his parents and a younger brother, Edward Lee Mitchell. He is survived by his wife, Shirley Carlson; a sister, Monta and husband Richard Wagar of Bellingham, Wash.; a brother, Paul Mitchell and wife Madeleine of Reedley; six children, Roxanne Mitchell of Rancho Murieta; Roy Mitchell of Anchorage, Alaska; Kit Mitchell of Santa Rosa; John “JJ” Johnson of Prescott, Ariz.; Timothy Mitchell of Rocklin; and Gail Mitchell of Davis; 10 grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
As per his request, he will be cremated and a celebration of life will be held at the Veterans’ Memorial Center, 203 E. 14th St. in Davis, from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 29, 2013. Memorial contributions may be sent to the Woodland Community College Lee Mitchell Bike Rack Fund, or a Lee Mitchell Memorial Scholarship Book Fund or to the Wayfarer Center Christian Mission, 277 Fourth St., Woodland.
Lee started his work career stocking produce in grocery stores and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Humboldt State University and a master’s degree from UC Davis. He embraced and loved teaching. He was one of 12 pioneer professors at Woodland Community College through the Yuba Community College District in 1974. Over a span of 35 years, he taught anthropology, ecology, geography, geology and oceanography. He took great joy in teaching, often providing his own funds for books for students who had limited financial resources.
He was a member of several bike clubs, including the Davis Bike Club, Grizzly Peaks Cycling Association and Ultra Marathon Cycling Association (UMCA). He was a three-time record setter in Race Across America (RAAM), a 3,000 mile, nonstop bicycle race from California to Maryland. He and three team members hold the current bicycling record in RAAM for a team whose age averaged 75. “Fuzzy” Mitchell spent many years volunteering as a Supply and Gear (SAG) wagon driver, supporting other serious bicyclists in RAAM, Race Across Oregon, the Hoodo and the 508. Lee’s Red Bike Van is an icon to many enthusiastic bicyclists. He was a true “SAG Angel.”
Lee will be remembered for his unfailing smile, his signature “Santa Claus” look, his never-changing wardrobe and his red minivan blasting music to get you over the next hill. Most of all, we’ll remember him for his unfailing SAG support, his generosity of spirit and his single-minded concern for the safety of cyclist on the road.
Lee possessed a unique set of skills that made him a respected teacher, mentor and leader. He gave much of himself in time, money and energy to cycling, teaching and family; his passion to help others was unparalleled.