Thomas E. Mitchell passed away on May 29, 2019 while surrounded by family. Thomas was born in Richland, Washington on July 26, 1955, to William and Irene Mitchell.
Thomas was the youngest of five children: Linda, Sandra, Bill and Jim. Thomas grew up in Richland and the surrounding areas where his father taught him how to fish and hunt, both of which became lifelong passions.
At the age of 17, Thomas enlisted in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He was listed in the National Archives as the youngest man to serve on the USS Allen M. Sumner (Sumner - class destroyer). Thomas also served as a Helmsman on the USS James K. Polk and the USS Seahorse submarines. After serving in the Navy for six years, Thomas worked a variety of jobs that allowed him to travel and explore different parts of the country, including Alaska where he lived for a year.
Thomas later returned to Richland where he met his first wife, Deborah Hirsch, and had five children: Chrissy, Missy, Josh, Autumn, and Nathan.
Thomas worked at the Hanford site for a number of years as an operator, instructor, and supervisor. He worked at numerous facilities on the Hanford reservation, but most memorable was PUREX where he worked with and later married the love of his life, Laurie.
Thomas and Laurie bravely blended a family of seven children, Tom’s five and Laurie’s two, Ashley and Adam. The family had many adventures together fishing, camping, taking trips to the ocean, Yellowstone and even Las Vegas.
Thomas and Laurie moved to their homestead in Selah, Washington across from Wenas Lake where they built their home and the “Old Heritage Taxidermy” business together. They spent many happy years on “Mitchell Mountain.”
Thomas was a kind man who loved his family deeply. His big heart, humor, and straight-shooter advice were just a few of his many attributes that were appreciated by those that knew him.
Thomas is survived by his siblings Linda Moore (husband Bob), Sandra Hulburt (husband Raymond), William Mitchell and James Mitchell (wife Randie); his wife Laurie, children Chrissy Hannaman (husband Gerad), Melissa Mitchell, Josh Mitchell, Ashley Olsen (fiance Tom Bratvold), Autumn Mitchell (husband Jose Duenas), Adam Olsen, and Nathan Mitchell; his twelve grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He will forever be in our hearts.
Family and friends will gather in an upcoming Celebration of Life to honor and share memories of Thomas on July 27, 2019.