Cover photo for Marion Cornelius Mitchell's Obituary
Marion Cornelius Mitchell Profile Photo

Marion Cornelius Mitchell

June 16, 1940 — June 7, 2022

Marion Cornelius Mitchell entered the Church Triumphant on June 7, 2022, at home under the care of Hospice. He was a man of faith believing that the promised life in eternity with God would be so much better than this earthly one, so he surrendered peacefully and gratefully to rest in the arms of God.

He was born to Marie Jones Mitchell and Julius Caesar (J.C.) Mitchell on June 16, 1940, in Sycamore, Georgia, and grew up in Valdosta, Georgia. Marion was oldest of their three children. He had two younger sisters, Addie (Harris) and Joe Ann (Simpson). He was blessed with other siblings, Johnny B. Williams on his mother’s side and Fannie Mae Mitchell and Julius (“Bub”) Mitchell on his father’s side. He leaves numerous nephews and nieces and other relations scattered across the country.

Marion graduated from Pinevale High School in 1959, and from there he left to serve in the U.S. Army. He was stationed at various bases around the country, in Germany and in Japan before being sent to Vietnam where he fought with the “Big Red One” infantry division. He often told his “saving story” of how he was plucked from certain death by someone who woke him with a tap on his shoulder in the middle of the night and whispered, “Get up, Marion, all hell is about to break loose.” Though he looked around and saw no one, he took cover in his tank just as a mortar round landed where he was sleeping. The Vietnam War took from him his peace of mind and left him raw, sad, and with a Purple Heart. He was forever altered by what he witnessed there, and he came to have a keen empathy for those in the world who suffered as victims of war.

Discharged from the service in 1967, he lived in New Haven, Connecticut, where he worked in various industries before going on to earn his college degree from the University of New Haven and a Master of Social Work from the University of Connecticut. While wandering about to find his place and purpose in life, he recalled his “saving story” from Vietnam and realized that God had a plan for him. With encouragement from his pastor and friends at Summerfield in New Haven, he entered Yale Divinity School graduating in 1979 with a Master of Divinity. He was appointed by the bishop of the New York Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church to Calvary UMC in the Bronx, New York, and then to Woodycrest UMC, Westchester UMC, Ardsley UMC, Peekskill UMC, and Christ UMC in New Rochelle. After 30 years in the ministry, he retired in 2009. He cherished his years with the Wellspring community, Walk to Emmaus, and other conference-sponsored spiritual growth programs. He served on the Board of Ordained Ministry at the district and conference levels for many years where he loved hearing the testimonies of up-and-coming pastors because these stories helped remind him of why he served God and God’s people in the local church. After retirement, he participated as a team member in the Kairos prison ministry program in Valdosta.

In 1972, Marion met Shelley Renish at the Ecumenical Institute in Chicago and a year later they were married in New Haven. Their son, Sean, completed the family in 1984.

Marion will be forever remembered by his laughter which was loud, hearty, and infectious. While he sometimes found ministry in the parish trying, in each church community Marion treasured those times when he could sit around a table in the church fellowship hall – especially after a good Methodist potluck luncheon – to shoot the breeze, tell some funny stories, and enjoy the company of his church family.

Marion reconnected both in New York and after retirement in Valdosta with the various associations and activities for veterans, particularly for those individuals having served in Vietnam. He and his family were grateful for the support and comfort they provided, especially the veterans in Valdosta. In his last days, the nurses and CNAs of South Georgia Medical Center, the Veteran’s Administration, and Hospice of South Georgia were true angels on earth providing an extraordinary level of care. When he no longer wanted to struggle on this side of life, they eased him into eternity with such kindness.

A service of Christian Burial will be conducted at 12p.m. in the Carson McLane Funeral Home Chapel in Valdosta, GA, on June 14, 2022. He will be interred at McLane Riverview Memorial Gardens with Military Honors. The family will receive friends and visitors on Monday from 5-7 p.m. at the funeral home. Those wishing to remember Marion are encouraged to donate to the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Condolences to the family may be conveyed online at Carson McLane Funeral Home

The service will be live streamed on the Tribute Wall of this obituary, the livestream will begin shortly before service time

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Monday, June 13, 2022

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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