Obituary for David Mitchell

January 30th, 1951 – March 02, 2024

David, our beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle has left us. David grew up in Cobourg, a block from the beach where he spent much of his childhood. He excelled at school and credited his high school chemistry teacher with igniting his love of chemistry, as he and the other students were given free rein in the lab after school to conduct experiments – an unheard of freedom in these times.

David pursued his undergrad and Master’s degrees in chemistry at the University of Waterloo, where he lived at the Dag Hammarskjold Cooperative Residence (notorious for food fights in the cafeteria and all-night bridge games.) He met many like-minded souls there who would become friends for life, including first year roommate Bill Beck. It was also there that he met his wife Judy, whom he affectionately dubbed “Saint Jude” (the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes) – a clever play on words that rang very true.

For Jude, it was love at first sight – David was tall, dark, handsome, and very funny. Through their combined force of will, together they were able to share the decades of celebratory moments and challenges that life would offer. Their first challenge was a 3 ½ month backpacking trip around Europe a year after they met, on a budget of $5/day each: most nights were spent at youth hostels, but some nights were spent on beaches (Venice and Crete) or in farmer’s fields (Greece) to save money. The trip was a true test of their relationship and the adventure of a lifetime.

They moved to Kingston in 1976 for David to attend Queen’s University, where he completed a Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry. He was hired at DuPont as a research chemist and remained there until his retirement in 2013. His colleagues at DuPont became his best friends and he enjoyed their golf trips to PEI and BC, as well as playing bridge, poker, and snooker and gathering weekly at the Loyal Oarsman pub.

David was an insatiable reader, and his knowledge base was legendary. If you watched Jeopardy with him, you wondered why he wasn’t a contestant; if you engaged him in a game of Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit, you expected to lose; and you realized that arguing with him was futile as he was always right about facts and dates in history, geography, science, sports, and music. We got him a t-shirt that said ”let’s assume I’m correct, it will save time” – because it was true.

David shared his interest in sports with his daughter Bayley, and they would debate their Final Four choices each March. During university, David was an avid concert goer who hosted a late-night radio program and collected the LPs that lined his apartment walls. He was delighted that his son Zack shared this interest (as well as an appreciation of South Park), and they engaged in discussions about all genres of music – his knowledge was encyclopedic. For fun, he solved cryptic crosswords and played duplicate bridge online with his sister Anne.

It was at the cottage where David was the happiest – boating, tubing, and playing Euchre and other card & board games with his children, grandchildren, and lifelong friends the Cottons. He’d share his morning waffles with his grandkids on his lap with his favourite companion Bruno, the family pug at his side.

Despite numerous medical challenges throughout his life, David continually defied the odds, displaying a stoic tenacity and determination to live. Unfortunately, during surgery for Crohn’s Disease in the 1970s, he had received tainted blood and contracted Hepatitis C, which destroyed his liver and necessitated a transplant. We were extremely grateful in 2008 when Cindy Cotmen made the generous and altruistic decision to be a living donor – as a result, David lived to celebrate the weddings of both his children, the birth of his grandchildren and 15 bonus years at the cottage. He succumbed to post transplant lympho-proliferative disorder, an aggressive lymphoma triggered by years of immunosuppressant drugs required to prevent rejection of his liver transplant.

David will be missed by Jude, his wife of 53 years, his daughter Bayley and sonin- law Jeff, son Zack and daughter-in-law Ashley, grandchildren Stella and Theo, sister Anne and brother-in-law Ray, sister-in-law Janet, and nieces Joy and Eve.

In David’s memory, please sign up to be an organ donor (beadonor.ca) and give blood if you can. If you wish to make a donation, gifts to the Gastrointestinal Disease Research Unit (GIDRU) through the University Hospital Kingston Foundation would be appreciated.

Thank you to the staff at KHSC especially on the Connell 10, Kidd 9 and Davies 4 units whose expertise, compassion, and kindness assured us David was receiving exemplary care. We are grateful for our friends who have supported us during David’s illness by feeding us, shoveling our driveway, and offering much needed encouragement.

Plans for a get-together with family and friends will be determined at a later date.

One thought on “Obituary for David Mitchell

  • I am so very sorry for your loss of Dave! I had the pleasure of working with him at the DuPont Research Centre and he was wonderful to work with. He had many friends there and I know he will be sorely missed. My condolences to the entire family.

    Bill Godkin

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