We our condolences to the family and colleagues of the Rev. James “Brad” Bradbury Mitchell Jr., who died on April 25, 2020, at the age of 80.
James was born on October 8, 1939 in Hyannis, MA to James B. Mitchell and Ruth Seabury Mitchell. He received his Bachelor of Science in Education majoring in Music Ed., from Lowell State College, MA in 1961, following which he worked as a Teacher of Music at Lexington Massachusetts Public Schools (1961-1965). Later in 1969, James graduated from the Crane Theological School, Tufts University, MA with his Master of Divinity.
Rev. Mitchell was ordained on June 22, 1969 by the Unitarian Church of Barnstable, MA. In 1969, he accepted a call from the UU Society of Laconia, NH and served for a decade; thereafter, in 1979, he was called to the East Shore UU Church, Kirtland, OH where he would minister until 1986. From 1986 to 2005, Rev. Mitchell served the UU Church of Brunswick, ME and then retired on June 30, 2005. In 2005, the UU Church of Brunswick honored him as their minister emeritus for his nineteen years of service in the history of the congregation. After his retirement, Rev. Mitchell served as an interim minister at the UU Society of Bangor, ME (2006-2008).
In addition to his parish and interim ministries, Rev. Mitchell belonged to several denominational boards and committees. He chaired the UUMA Consultation on Continuing Education (1978); and served on the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (1977-1979), and the Executive Committee of the UU Ministers Association (1977-1979). He provided his services to the Ohio-Meadville District Commissioned Lay Leaders Committee (1983), Ohio-Meadville District Long Range Planning Committee (1983-1984), and Ohio-Meadville District Search Committee (1985). Furthermore, for the UU Church of Brunswick, ME, Rev. Mitchell functioned as a Director of Music (2003-2004), and as an Adult RE Professional (2003-2005). From 2007 to 2008, he also served the Northeast UUMA Chapter.
Rev. Mitchell was an active member of different community organizations including Brunswick Area Interfaith Council; Rotary International (1978-1979); and Ministerial Association, Mentor, OH (1980). He was Professional Gifts Chair for the United Way Campaign, OH; President for the Human Rights Council, Mentor, OH (1981-1982) and Board Member of the Streetcar Company, community theatre, NH. Likewise, Rev. Mitchell served as a Convenor to the Lake County Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, OH (1982), and as a Chaplain to the Hospice of Lake County, OH (1982-1984).
In his leisure, Brad enjoyed community theatre, acting and directing musical programs for nursing homes, sailing, hiking and camping, and genealogy. He advocated for earth care in his sermons and was a lifelong organic gardener.
In remembering Brad, his colleague Rev. Sylvia Stocker wrote:
“Brad was one of the kindest human beings I have ever met. He possessed the ability to get along with just about anyone. He was encouraging and supportive, trustworthy, and loving. In seminary, I heard countless stories about minister emeriti who interfered with the work of the new minister. I am happy to say my experience was the exact opposite of what I had been trained to expect. I never felt anything but unwavering support, encouragement, and love from Brad. I felt lucky to have him active in the church and at my side as a colleague. I will miss him terribly.”
Brad is survived by his son Ian Mitchell; daughter Rebecca Mitchell, her partner Luke Gottlieb, and their children: Judah Gottlieb, Asher Gottlieb, and Sabastian Mitchell; as well as his brother Douglas Mitchell and sister-in-law Christine Welsh. He was predeceased by his wife, Christine Johnson Mitchell.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick (UUCB), PO Box 129, Brunswick, ME 04011.
The memorial service for Brad will go live at 11 am on Saturday, June 6, 2020 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick’s YouTube channel: UUCB AV. The service will be available if people would like to watch it later.
Notes of condolences may be sent to Ian Mitchell at 56 Hillside Rd., Brunswick, ME 04011; or to Rebecca Mitchell at 527 W. Richmond Ave., Richmond, CA 94801; or to Douglas Mitchell at 138 Longwood Ave., Brookline, MA 02446.
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