Seeking peace on a windless late August day, perfect weather for catching endless hungry rainbows on the shimmering roiling water of the Deschutes River, Brad Mitchell (59), our much beloved son, father, brother, and friend departed this life.
Brad was born to Joann (Jody) Abernethy Florence and Howard Bruce Mitchell. He grew up in Salt Lake City where he graduated from Cottonwood High School and later attended Utah State University.
He married Linda Watanabe (later divorced) and was privileged to help raise his two step-daughters Kenzie and Ali as well as their son Connor. He was extremely proud of all three.
While he gained a great love of fly fishing and hunting upland game in Utah, it wasn't until the family moved to Bend, Oregon that his skill at catching (and releasing) the lunkers of the Willamette and Umpqua National Forests grew into family legend. The Deschutes River, his final resting place, was truly his playground. Likewise, tales of his hunting upland game behind his faithful pointers (especially Mika whom he left behind) were also mythical.
Our hearts have been broken by his passing and we will forever miss his strength and gentle disposition, which were lately shaken by the battles fought in his mind. The pain we feel can only be expressed by paraphrasing a poem by Ellen Brenneman (My Journey's Just Begun).
Don't think of him as gone away/His journey's just begun/Life holds so many facets/This earth is only one/Just think of him as resting/From the sorrows and the tears/In a place of warmth and comfort/Where there are no days and years/Think of how he must be wishing/That we could know today/How nothing but our sadness/Can really pass away/And think of him as living/In the hearts of those he touched/For nothing loved is ever lost/And he knows he was loved so much.
All of the family want to express their utmost gratitude to Brad's brother David Mitchell, sister Terri Gurzi, and his good friend Bryan Bergerson for the strength and support they offered during his difficult days. If there is a trout stream in heaven we know Brad is on it, fly rod in hand. We hope everyone who knew him will seek to commune with him at their favorite fishing hole or in the nearest field full of partridge, grouse, or pheasant. He will meet you there.
You were our neighbor and our friend. We are so sorry to hear today about your passing almost a year later. We wandered of where you went only to have our hearts break to learn of your passing. May you keep fly fishing the river of life our friend..love Shane and Jeannette