Michael (Mickey) Dean Mitchell

Friday, June 1, 2018

Michael (Mickey) Dean Mitchell passed away at home surrounded by his family Wednesday, May 30. He was born June 1948 in Columbia, S.C. He was the son of Lt. Col. John S. and Zelma L. Mitchell of Joplin who preceded him in death. The Mitchell family made their home all over the United States and Puerto Rico until Lt. Col. John S. Mitchell retired from the army and settled in Joplin in 1959. Mickey graduated from Joplin Senior High School in 1966. He served in the Missouri Army National Guard, 1969-1975 and received a commendation as a rifle sharpshooter. After working in various positions and states, he came back home to Joplin in 1973 and worked as a purchasing agent for Oak Hill Osteopathic Hospital. He married Beverly Bohm, the love of his life in September 1974. Mickey was a 7-Eleven convenience store franchise owner on South Main for a few years.

In 1976 he became administrative assistant at Oak Hill. In 1980 he received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Missouri Southern State University and became director of planning and development, physician recruitment and retention at Oak Hill. During that time, he recruited over 60 physicians to the Joplin area. Many fine and well-respected physicians he recruited still practice here in Joplin and the surrounding area today. Mickey, in conjunction with Dr. Larry McIntire, a recruited physician, began the ear, nose and throat residency program at Oak Hill. This later laid the groundwork in Dr. McIntire’s relentless pursuit of a medical school in Joplin, which is now a reality with the Kansas City University medical school opening last year in 2017.

Along with Dr. Paul Swanson, Mickey was co-owner of Sgt. Peppers Nightclub in Galena, Kan., and T-Birds in Joplin as well as a concert promoter. In 1993-1994 he served as Oak Hill’s interim president/CEO until a permanent replacement could be recruited. In 1994-1995 he served as vice president of Professional Services. While at Oak Hill Hospital, Mickey was involved in many civic organizations and fundraisers, too numerous to list here. Among them, he was on the building fundraising committee for the Joplin South Family Y, past president and board member of the Optimist Club of Joplin, and a member of the Rotary Club in Joplin and Nevada. In cooperation with members from area hospitals, Freeman and St. John’s, he was one of the founding board members of the Joplin Emergency Medical Service (ambulance) which later became known as Metro Emergency Transport Service and served 27 years on this board of directors, 10 of those years as board president. In similar cooperation with area hospitals, he was also a founding board member of the Community Blood Center in Joplin. Mickey also served many years as an officer and board member of the Cerebral Palsy Center and on the board of directors of Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.

Mickey began postgraduate studies in health care administration at Southwest Baptist University. He became a graduate of the American College of Health Care Executives in 1995. In addition, his professional memberships included American Hospital Association, Society for Healthcare Planning and Marketing, American Osteopathic Hospital Association, College of Osteopathic Healthcare Executives, Missouri Osteopathic Hospital Association, Missouri Osteopathic Medical Educational Consortium, and Healthcare Financial Management Association. In addition to memberships, he also served on the board of directors for some of these organizations.

In 1995 Oak Hill and Freeman Hospital merged forming under the legal name as Freeman-Oak Hill Health System. During the transition Mickey became vice president of operations for Freeman Health System. In 1996 he became the executive director of regionalization for Freeman. During this time, he became familiar with physicians throughout the region and also served on the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals golf tournament fundraiser committee for 11 years. In 2010 he became the director of business development for Heartland Behavioral Health Services in Nevada and served on the board of directors until his passing. Mickey made a lasting impact upon the employees of Heartland. In addition to his leadership in the area of business development and physician recruitment, Mickey established a child and adolescent psychiatric residency rotation in conjunction with Freeman-Ozark Center of Joplin. Mickey had a heart for children, especially those who are most vulnerable to mental illness. Until his health declined in 2017 he was on the board of Newton County Mental Health and National Alliance on Mental Illness for several years. He understood health care and mental health care went hand in hand in providing good quality care for all.

He is survived by his wife in marriage of 43 years, Beverly; a daughter, Andrea Horton and husband Shawn, of Joplin; a son, John Mitchell, of Joplin; a daughter, Christine Kallio and husband Brad, of Minneapolis, Minn. Survivors also include four grandchildren Nicholas and Christopher Horton and Carson and Logan Kallio; a brother, Steve Mitchell and wife Jane, of Carl Junction, Mo.; a sister, Nora Lou (Nunie) Burtchaell, of Atlanta, Ga., and many beloved nieces and nephews. Mickey was always very friendly and had his hand extended to give a warm handshake to kings and paupers alike. He would always go out of his way to help a stranger, friend or family member with their needs. During Mickey’s early childhood he was bilingual in Spanish and English, often interpreting Spanish to his mother while in Puerto Rico. When it came time to translate a bad report from his daycare worker, the translation to his mother was quite a different one. Mickey will truly be missed by his family, friends and co-workers. Mickey was baptized at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Easter Sunday in 2001 by Father Justin.

Memorial Mass is planned for 2 p.m. Monday at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, with Father Justin Monaghan as celebrant. The family will receive friends Sunday from 5– 7 p.m. at Parker Mortuary. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Children’s Miracle Network thru Freeman Hospital or Saint Mary’s Catholic Church and can be left in care of the mortuary.

Arrangements are under the direction of Parker Mortuary.