William French Mitchell ’40 of Sun City Center, Florida, died on October 18, 2005, in Tampa, Florida following a succession of heart attacks over a period of several months.
Born on April 30, 1918 in Melrose, MA, he prepared for college at Wakefield (MA) High School, Melrose High School, and Phillips Exeter Academy and became a member of Psi Upsilon Fraternity at Bowdoin. Following his graduation in 1940, he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II from 1940 to 1945, commanding a submarine chaser in the Mediterranean Sea and being awarded the Navy Cross and the Legion of Valor. He continued his service in the U.S. Naval Reserves after the war, retiring with the rank of lieutenant commander. After the war he taught French and Spanish for a year at Tabor Academy in Marion, MA, and French at Chicago Latin School for Boys in Illinois for two years. From 1949 to 1958, he taught French at Keene (NH) High School, followed by two years as head of the foreign language department at Holyoke (MA) High School and three years as an assistant professor in French at Stetson University in Florida. He taught French and Spanish at Palm Beach Junior College in Lake Worth, FL, in 1963 and 1964 and then became professor of French and the humanities at Polk Community College. He retired in 1978. He received a master of arts degree from Middlebury College in 1953, received a “diplome d’Études Françaises” from the Univérsité d’Aix-Marseilles in 1953, and did graduate work at the University of Virginia in the humanities. He was a member of the Men’s Club of Sun City Center and the local chapter of the Military Officers Association of America. He was predeceased by his wife, Norma J. Thorndike, whom he had married in 1941, and by a daughter, Elizabeth.