Dr. Richard Travis Mitchell II passed away on January 20, 2020, the day before his 84th birthday, at his home in Hollister, California. He was born on January 21, 1936 in Price, Utah to Richard Travis and Marguerite Mitchell, and met his future bride Mila Le when she played for a local softball league sponsored by his father. Little did Mitch know at the time that he and Mila would enjoy a thriving marriage and partnership lasting over 63 years, leaving a remarkable legacy of love for their family.
An exceptional student always achieving the highest academic honors, Mitch (as he was known to his friends) completed his high school degree at the Holy Cross Abbey run by Benedictine monks in Cañon City, Colorado. He then went on to graduate magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in pre-med from Notre Dame University in three short years. Mitch and Mila wed in the summer of 1957 prior to moving to Chicago, where Mitch attended medical school at Loyola University. Graduating in 1961 from the Stritch School of Medicine, Mitch became licensed to practice medicine in California in 1962.
Dr. Mitchell served his country as a captain in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War from February 1966 through February 1968 and was stationed at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, where he was head of the obstetrics and gynecology department.
In 1968, Mitch and Mila put down roots in Monte Sereno, California, where Mitch was a founding partner of the Loma Vista Medical Group and served as a physician at Good Samaritan Hospital. In addition to being a board-certified OB-GYN, Mitch was a member of the Shufelt Society, the Santa Clara Medical Society, the California Medical Association, and the American Medical Association. Dr. Mitchell’s staff and peers had the utmost respect for his technical skill, and more importantly, the heart with which he approached his professional calling – always in the pursuit of exceptional patient care. Throughout his many years as a member of the Bay Area medical community, Dr. Mitchell would often be approached in public by proud parents who thanked him profusely for his safe delivery of their children.
Inseparable and always enjoying each other’s company, Mila and Mitch traveled the world together, including a visit to Mitch’s ancestral home of Gap, France, where they received a warm welcome and were featured in the local newspaper. Each of these trips represented a learning opportunity for the insatiably inquisitive couple, who were highly interested in exploring new cultures and lands. After retiring, their travels took them through each of the lower 48 states, and they shared many happy memories traversing the country in their Winnebago. Mitch remained a voracious reader throughout his life, always seeking to expand his knowledge. His deep curiosity and respect for education led him to study religious and spiritual philosophy in his later years. He held a deep religious commitment, and there was no conflict for him between reason and faith.
After residing in Monte Sereno for over 30 years, Mitch and Mila retired down to the Ridgemark Golf Club in Hollister, California, where the couple enjoyed their hobbies of golf and bridge before settling into a quiet life together.
Being an only child himself, Mitch was a devoted family man who adored his four beautiful children. He was also passionate about his five grandchildren, who lovingly called him Poppie. They can all attest to his endless patience, big heart, unmatched wisdom, generous spirit, unwavering support, and unconditional love. He served as their mentor, providing affirmations and encouragement. Poppie thoroughly enjoyed his involvement in their lives, teaching them to swim, drive, golf, dance the jitterbug and macarena, and of course, pursue education and knowledge as intently as he did. He enjoyed working with his hands, and saw every project inside and outside the house as a teaching moment with his grandkids, in addition to frequently being called upon to assist with school assignments. He also passed on his love of dogs, and cherished his black teacup poodle, Sweetie Pie.
Mitch was beloved by all. His compassion, brilliant mind, dry wit, and absolute dedication to his family and patients alike were incomparable. Mitch was kind, genuine, and a true gentleman through and through, but perhaps most notably, was one of the most humble men you could ever meet. With a non-judgmental attitude, he treated all he encountered with respect and dignity. Always giving people the benefit of the doubt, he never spoke poorly of anyone, and knew that kindness and understanding were always an option. He was a man who steadfastly adhered to his principles, with a firm moral compass to guide him. In his later years, and having been an active man for much of his life, Mitch’s Parkinson’s disease ultimately prevented him from doing the things that he loved to do. Nevertheless, Mitch maintained a positive attitude and was a beacon of quiet, resilient strength to those around him.
Those left to cherish Mitch’s memory include his loving wife and faithful companion, Mila Le, who upheld her vows of commitment through sickness and health; children Richard Travis Mitchell III (Carol), David Mitchell (David Patapoff), Mila-Mary Bassian (Dan), and Michael Mitchell (Julie); his five outstanding and beloved grandchildren Jenna Gay (Brian), Rachel Romero (Eric), Laura Murphy, Maxwell Mitchell, and Maya Mitchell; sister-in law Lynda Robinson (Norman); niece Mila Le Fesler (Micah); nephews Norman Robinson (Jennifer) and Christopher Robinson (Eleanor). The family would also like to thank the Visiting Angels – Roberta, Wendy, Monica, Brenda, and Terry – along with Margaret Diaz, for their compassionate and respectful care of Mitch over the last several years.
A service will be held on Monday, January 27th at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Los Gatos, California with a lunch reception to follow. Interment will take place at 3 p.m. at the Los Gatos Memorial Park.