Vera Louise Mitchell, a descendent of the pioneer Soquel Daubenbiss family, died December 10, 2016 at the age of 88. Vera Lou was born in San Jose to Louis and Vera Marsh. Her father Louis died unexpectedly in 1929 and Vera and Vera Lou moved to Santa Cruz to live with Vera Lou’s grandparents Ed and Grace Daubenbiss who operated a chicken ranch on what is now Prospect Heights. Growing up, she loved the beach and in her youth, she worked at the Boardwalk. In later life she enjoyed reminiscing about how she was friends with several now-legendary surfers who frequented Cowell’s Beach in the 1940s.
Vera Lou attended Santa Cruz High School, the College of Notre Dame in San Jose, and San Jose State.
In 1947 Vera Lou married Ralph V. Mitchell and the couple soon had two children, Ralph Jr. (“Sandy”) and Louis. In 1952 the family moved to their chalet-like home on 13 acres in the redwoods on Branciforte Drive where three more children, Kathy, Chris and Heidi arrived.
In the 1980s -1990s, Vera Lou owned and operated a landmark Victorian home and rental apartments in Calistoga (the “White House”) and spent many happy days relaxing by the pool, soaking up the sun and developing many friendships. Calistoga was a second home to her.
After Ralph died in 1996, Vera Lou continued to live in the family home she loved until her death. She designed, planted, and tended a beautiful garden in an open space carved out of the redwoods, replete with roses, fruit trees and a charming guest cottage. Gardening was her great passion and she hosted several family weddings, many parties, and Sunday BBQs in her pristine garden over the years.
Vera Lou is survived by all of her five children, Ralph (Mary Jane), Louis, Kathy, Chris (Ann), and Heidi (Chris), grandchildren Danny (Leslie), Michael, Madeline, Amanda (Dennis), Matthew, Collin, Isaac and Alex and one greatgrandchild to be (Danny and Leslie).
The family will announce a memorial service for family and friends to be held in Vera Lou’s garden at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations to Hospice of Santa Cruz, Branciforte Fire Department, or a charity of your choice are preferred.