Obituaries » Joseph Shehigh Mitchell, Jr.

Joseph Shehigh Mitchell, Jr.

February 5, 1952 - January 17, 2023

Joseph Shehigh Mitchell, Jr., 70, of Catawba, passed away on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 at his residence while surrounded by his family. He was born on February 5, 1952, in Bartow, FL. A son of the late Joseph Shehigh Mitchell, Sr., and Lillian Irene Foglesong Mitchell.

Joe was outdoorsmen in so many ways. He loved hunting, fishing, times spent with family and was always up for a game of cornhole with friends. He was a retired Foreman with Norfolk and Southern Railroad. He worked for many years in the B&B department and worked at the East End Shop. He loved his family and loved animals of all kinds. He raised many wild animals that he was able to rescue throughout his years. He was loved dearly and will be missed by all that knew him.

Joe is survived by his wife, Donna Gardner Mitchell; three sons, Joseph Shehigh Mitchell, III and his wife, Amanda Kaye, Joshua Allen Mitchell and Jamie Barrett Bogle; two grandchildren, Mia Kaye Mitchell and Joseph Shehigh Mitchell, IV; one brother, William Henry “Billy” Mitchell and his wife, Elaine; one sister, Rebecca Fox and her husband, Bill; a very special young lady who he claimed as his daughter, Briana DeSanctis. Also surviving are numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to Penny, Pam and Maryluz for the tender that care that they showed Joseph.

A memorial service and celebration of Joe’s life will be conducted at 11:00am on Saturday, January 21, 2023 at Lighthouse Bible Church in Vinton, VA with Pastor Jay Richards officiating. For those wishing to make memorial contributions in Joe’s memory please consider The American Diabetes Foundation or Gentle Shepherd Hospice. To send condolences online please visit tharpfuneralhome.com. Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Roanoke is assisting the family.

Condolences & Tributes

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I am terribly sorry for your loss and all of ours. Joe was a memorable human and the type of man you consider a friend even though you met him maybe one time for maybe for one day. My trail year was 2013. I am going to share a story (in respect to Joe's storytelling): I had just arrive after climbing down the treacherous (when wet --and it was) Dragon's Tooth where I almost impaled myself with a tree branch. I had been using it as a hiking stick since Georgia. Miracles of all miracles - it slipped into a wedge in front of me center to my body. I lost balanced and I tripped, falling forward. I turned into a quick responding wonder woman of sorts. I hit it really hard side ways and it flew off to the right as I continued falling down the rocky path for about 2 or 3 meters. I literally stood up and didn't have any scratches on me, but had a very small tear in my top where the stick had ripped it. There wasn't even a scratch there, even though it was a fitted tank made of t-shirt material. I climbed back up and recovered my stick which now had two sharp ends -- one from breaking off of the tree somewhere in Georgia, and one from breaking from wedging in place between some rocks where a piece was still there. I arrived at Four Pines and met Joe in the garage/ hostel where many of my tramily were already claiming sleeping spots. After he pointed out a reclining chair to me for me to sleep, I asked Joe for some thread and a needle and told him what had happened. He looked at my stick and then looked at the small hole - exactly where my heart is - and said with authority, "first we make this thing safer to use." He went over to his workbench and sawed the sharp ends off and then sanded new flat edges on both sides until they were smooth. He even light sanded the entire length! He transformed that nature's cast off into my lucky shillelagh. Later, after I had settled in, he asked me if I would like to pick cherries from his tree. I could share them with the others. "You aren't afraid of heights?" he seriously asked me as he positioned the ladder. We both laughed for a minute about this. It wasn't that funny but it was. People like Joe played key characters along my journey and are very much the reason I remember some of my own adventures so clearly. Joe will remain a part of the trail lore for many of us. I send my sympathy and love to his family and closets friends.

Posted by \"Midway\" on January 28, 2023

Condolences to family and friends of Joe Mitchell, a good man, a friend of nature, the Appalachian Trail, and thousands of AT hikers.

Posted by Joe \"Triton\" Schmidt on January 28, 2023

I only knew you for a few years, but I will miss your ball busting and your story telling. I cannot express adequately my heartfelt condolences to Donna & the family!

Posted by Joshua \"NatureBoi\" Ciresoli on January 21, 2023

My ❤️ goes out to the Mitchells in this difficult time. Sending prayers for comfort

Posted by Keith Martin on January 20, 2023

I'm praying for you Donna & the family. May God surround all of you with strength & peace.

Posted by Mary Bowser on January 19, 2023

Posted by Sink on January 18, 2023

Joe, you were so loved in the AT community, as is your amazing Family. I want to thank you for being a kind person and for helping us out and always opening your home to us. I am sending lots of love and my deepest sympathy to your wonderful Family. ❤️

Posted by Heather aka Brave on January 18, 2023

Joe I’m going to miss you bud. You’re an amazing man. Thanks for loving all of us Hiker Trash like you did. You’re a legend.

Posted by Chad “Birthday” Scalf on January 18, 2023

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