Our beloved husband, father and grandfather passed away on June 7, 2019 after a lengthy illness. In 1987, Lee was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and had a bone marrow transplant which helped put him in remission for many years.
Lee was born on August 23, 1940 in Ukiah, California to Clarence Mitchell and Cleo Wade Mitchell.
After years of growing up assisting his dad on a sheep ranch, enjoying horses, hunting and fishing, he came to Napa to attend the Junior College. There he met his future wife, Arlene Kangas. They were married in 1961 and had 58 years together.
In 1965, Lee had the opportunity to join the Napa City Fire Department. The sky was the limit after that! He took this opportunity to improve his knowledge of the Fire Service and EMS, by taking classes in First-Aid, CPR Training & Fire Rescue. He then became an instructor of Fire Science and First Aid through the Napa Jr. College. He was soon promoted within the Napa City Fire Department to Training Officer, then Administrative/Operations Battalion Chief. When the Fire Chief of Ukiah position opened up, he saw a great opportunity to return to his hometown. He applied and was successful in obtaining the position of Ukiah Fire Chief for the next seven years. After seven years with the Ukiah Fire Department, he retired and continued to teach fire courses throughout Northern California. Then the call came asking him to come out of retirement to work for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services as a Deputy Chief of Fire and Rescue.
During the years of working for the Napa City Fire Department, Lee became a Boy Scout Leader, started the Napa Fire Explorer Post 220, coordinated the start of our excellent Napa Paramedic program (1978) and managed the Napa City Fire Reserves.
Lee was a past President of the Northern California Training Officers Association and the Napa City Firefighters Association. In addition, he was on the Napa College Fire Science Advisory Board, the Napa County Emergency Medical Care Committee, and a Board Member of the Redwood Empire Heart Association.
Lee was also a member of the SIR Chapter 149 and enjoyed traveling with his wife, on Roving Roosters RV trips.
“When Lee had time”, he enjoyed camping, backpacking, hunting, and fishing with his family and friends. He loved to watch his daughters play softball for many years.
Lee is survived by his wife, Arlene, son, Richard, daughters, Nanette and Betsy (Barry Biermann), and his beloved grandsons Brandon, Blake and D.J.…..and his little dog Bella.
Lee, Dad, Grandpa—we know you are having a wonderful time fishing with some of your buddies and relatives who have gone before you. We will always love and miss you dearly.
A Retired Firefighter Memorial Service will take place at Napa Valley Life Church, 2303 Trower Ave, Napa, CA, on Friday, June 21, 2019, at 11:00 a.m.