In the early morning hours of Monday, September 21st, 2020, surrounded by her loving family - artist, author, schoolteacher, wife, mother, devout Catholic, and longtime Colorado Springs resident Joan Cameron Mitchell passed away due to complications from a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. Born September 23rd, 1933, in Glasgow, Scotland, she would have been 87 years old. Eldest daughter to schoolteachers Mary McKenzie and James Aloysius Cameron, sister to surviving siblings, Lewis Cameron, Roderick Cameron, Mary Wilson, and James Cameron, beloved wife for 53 years to the late Major General John Henderson Mitchell, and mother to devoted sons John Cameron, Christopher Lloyd, Colin MacKenzie, and the late Samuel Latham and James. She is also survived by her beloved longtime family caregiver Emily Olvera, daughter-in-law Kristi Mitchell, and grandchildren Sera, Taryn, Christopher, Cassidy Joan (named for her grandmother) and Maxwell Henderson (named for his grandfather).
Born with an unquenchable desire to see the world and toughened by poverty, World War II and the loss of her father at a young age, Joan left her native Scotland at age 20 after graduating from Notre Dame College and traveled to Montreal on a cargo boat in search of a new life. From 1954-1960 she worked as an elementary school teacher in Canada and Chicago, before arriving in the Springs to teach at Audubon Elementary, where she met young Lieutenant Mitchell at the Fort Carson Officer’s Club Bingo Night. They danced, sang, dreamed of traveling to distant lands, raising a family of nothing-but-girls, and fell in love. They married in 1961 at the Broadmoor’s Pauline Chapel, became best friends, traveled to many distant lands, raised a family of nothing-but-boys, and together, in effect, ran the American Sector of the City of West Berlin from 1984 to 1988, where they entertained such notables as President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan, Queen Elizabeth II, Pope John Paul II and classical pianist Vladimir Horowitz, all in the waning years of the Iron Curtain. In 1991 they retired to the Springs where they resided for 30 years before Joan’s beloved husband succumbed to the same disease that would eventually take her.
A world class painter, Joan rendered watercolor portraits for such luminaries as Kirk Douglas, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, cellist Mstislav Rostopovich and Pakistani President Benazir Bhutto, as well as creating a number of religious art projects for the Catholic dioceses of Denver and the Springs. She was a successful Mark Kay Cosmetics Sales Director for many years and an author of two self-published memoirs: Comin’ Thru the Wry and Tear Down This Wall! A Berlin Memoir: 1984-1988. Joan remained very active within her faith community wherever she lived, having established the first BirthRight center in Junction City, Kansas while they were stationed at Fort Riley, as well as contributing tirelessly to her local parishes in the Springs.
A memorial mass for Joan will be held this Tuesday, September 29th, 11am, at the Divine Redeemer Catholic Church in Colorado Springs. All are welcome. Joan will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in November, joining her husband, John, and sons Samuel and James who are already interred there. For more information about the memorial and the funeral please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 297-1312. For more of Joan’s story go to: www.cappadonafh.com.
In lieu of cards or flowers, please consider donating in Joan’s honor to one of these two charities:
Pikes Peak Hospice
2550 Tenderfoot Hill Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Birthline of Colorado
2346 Gilpin Street
Denver, CO 80205
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joan Cameron Mitchell, please visit our floral store.