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1954 Gerald 2020

Gerald E. Mitchell

November 30, 1954 — October 14, 2020


On Wednesday, October 14, 2020, Gerald E. Mitchell passed away in Rocklin, CA, at the age of 65 years. He was born in Sacramento, CA, on November 30, 1954, to Kenneth and Mercedes Mitchell.

Gerald is survived by his beloved wife, Edara, of Rocklin, to whom he was married for 35 years, and a son, Garrett E. Mitchell, M.D., as well as fiancée Megan Kuhn, of Kansas City, MO, sister Vivian Richards-Palmer, brother-in-law G. John Palmer, sister-in-law Merry Farnady, life-long friend Pete Langlois, as well as nieces Suzie Lewandowski, Vickie Moersfelder, Krista Brandt, nephews Kyle Farnady, Marty Mitchell and Matt Mitchell. Additionally he is also survived by many cousins and friends and preceded in death by half-sister Sharon Miller, brother Kenneth (Mitch) Mitchell, and nephew Jaime Mitchell.

Graduating with honors from Grant Union High School, he attended the Univ. of CA, Davis, and graduated with a degree in Sociology. His vibrant personality, great sense of humor, and a desire to pursue a detailed knowledge of whatever he wished to tackle in life were a successful combination that led to positive results in many areas of his life, including his career.

Focusing on the retail industry, Gerald worked as a Department Manager for Macy's, a Buyer for Emporium-Capwell, a Product Development Manager for Mervyn's, a Production Manager for Natural Wonders, a Vice President of Merchandising for Discovery Channel Store, and Senior Vice President of The Right Start. In 2003, he purchased the Retail Search Group company and served as its President and CEO. As a talented guest speaker who spoke at business meetings, church events, memorials, and other gatherings, he also provided insightful inspirational speeches at UCSF Medical Center for brain cancer survivors and caregivers.

Gerald was a faithful follower and servant of Jesus Christ, and he treasured being part of a church family. As a member of Adventure Christian Church, he served communion and collected offerings, helped develop a marketing plan for the Adventure Christian School fundraiser, traveled to Mexico for a house-building mission trip and participated in bible study "life" groups and a men's accountability group. As a Christian, he often joyfully shared his faith journey and belief in the promise of eternal and everlasting life in God's kingdom.

Gifted with many natural skills and abilities such as detailed workmanship and customizing almost anything, he focused and achieved whatever he was working on with accuracy and an eye for detail and precision. Whether it was at his home, vehicle, yard, garage or office, he was dedicated to putting in long hours to achieve the goal.

One delight in his life was to spend time outside in nature while hunting and fishing with good friends and his son. Being an "outdoorsman" was a passion, and he

admitted to loving fishing but noted that the "catching" was definitely the best part. From early childhood, he was an avid camper and supporter of his family's 70+ year tradition of camping with family and friends on the 4th of July in the El Dorado National Forest. Sometimes flying from out of state to attend this annual camping adventure, he was a significant participant in the fun, games and traditions including the Jiffy Pop Challenge honoring his late brother, Mitch Mitchell.

Gerald and his family loved to travel, and he personally spent time on five of the seven continents of the world. He had a particular fondness for Hawaii, especially the Island of Kauai which he visited many times and was the birthplace of his mother. Being young at heart, he visited Disneyland numerous times and the experience to be at the happiest place on earth with his family.

Although he lived every day to the fullest, life became even more precious after the day in 2009 when he was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor with a life expectancy of 12-18 months. After a year of vigorously adhering to a huge treatment plan through the UCSF Medical Center, along with coordination and loving care from his wife and a merciful God, this treatment resulted in a remission of 11 years. He readily acknowledged that God had blessed him with a rare gift of time that few people in the world had experienced with this illness. This precious gift allowed him to see his son graduate from high school, college, medical school and become engaged to be married---a dream fulfilled for his Dad. His son shared that "My Dad was a walking miracle, and he was my hero."

The family gratefully acknowledges the care by Dr. Michael Prados, Dr. Jenny Taylor and the UCSF Neuro Oncology Department; Dr. Vincent Massullo and the John Muir Medical Center Radiation Oncology Department; Dr. Jakkidi Reddy, Primary Care; and Dr. Siva Kumar Reddy, Sutter Hematology/Oncology. The final days of Gerald's life were cared for by the quality staff of Craig's Care and at Placer Star Care.

A memorial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 22, 2020, at Heritage Oaks Memorial Chapel, 6920 Destiny Drive, Rocklin, CA, 95677, followed by lunch at the chapel. A gravesite service will be held at 2:00 p.m. at Newcastle Cemetery, 850 Taylor Road, Newcastle, CA, 95658.

Memorial remembrances to any local food bank would be greatly appreciated and much needed at this time.

Services in care of Heritage Oaks Memorial Chapel, Rocklin, CA.

"An American Original"

Gerald E. Mitchell was an American original. He was born on November 30th, 1954 in Sacramento to Kenneth and Mercedes Mitchell. He was the youngest of four; the eldest was half-sister Sharon, sister Vivian, and brother Ken. Vivian, in fact, saved Gerald from having the first name of Elmer and for that we are all grateful. As a young child, he loved being in the kitchen listening to his mother and aunts chatting in Spanish as they made tamales after church. Gerald started fishing as soon as he could walk, and his family instilled his everlasting love of the outdoors with many camping trips.

At the young age of 13, his mother passed, and his grandmother Nina stepped into the role of mother during his early teens. Gerald was an active kid. He was a skilled tennis player, involved in debate team, and was proud of his woodworking. He learned from his dad how to fix cars and was very handy. Together they built his first car by putting half of a 60 and 61 Chevy Corvair together. After high school, he put himself through college at the University of California, Davis, graduating in 1976 with a degree in sociology. He was a self-driven student who loved cycling and competed in the Davis Double Century race.

Gerald entered the professional world as an apprentice mortician in San Rafael before starting his career in retail. The career change turned out to be fortuitous as that's when a 25-year-old china and glassware department manager at Macy's met a pretty red head in electronics and stationery. Gerald was shy, so it was Edara who made the first move and asked him out. It was his sense of humor that made her head over heels and DEFINITLY not his sense of style. Edara completely changed Gerald's world. They were always finding new places to go and traveling whenever possible. They were married on April 20th, 1985 in Lafayette.

Gerald's career blossomed in the retail world and was promoted to executive management at Emporium Capwell's buying offices. After some convincing, Gerald and Edara welcomed a baby boy to the family on September 4th, 1992. Gerald was over the moon to have a son to pass on his skills to and share his love of fishing, hunting, and cars. Their son Garrett was truly Gerald's pride and joy.

Gerald continued to work up the retail corporate ladder taking the family to Plano, TX in 1994 where he was instrumental in creating the iconic Discovery Channel stores. It was during this time he also got his private pilots license. Soon after that they moved to West Lake Village in Southern California as Gerald took the job of Vice President of the Right Start baby product company. Gerald taught Garrett how to fish and the family took regular trips to Disneyland, sparking Gerald's love of Disney.

In 2003 Gerald and the family settled in Rocklin and bought The Retail Search Group. He was proud to be his own boss and co-own a company with Edara. The move allowed for more family time and Gerald then learned to scuba dive alongside his son, Garrett. Gerald was a religious man who attended Adventure Christian Church in Rocklin on a regular basis and was an active member in his bible study groups. Through the church he and Garrett served on a mission trip to Mexico building houses. Gerald also used his skills to create a marketing plan to fundraise for the creation of the Adventure Christian School.

It is no secret that Gerald is a regular adventurer with an unmatched wonder for the world. He loved to travel and took many family trips to Mexico, Europe, Cosa Rica, Hawaii, and Asia. In 2008, Gerald and the family took the trip of a lifetime and visited Africa. The trip to Tanzania and Kenya I'm sure has been mentioned at least once to everyone as it was full of incredible animals, culture, and locals that quickly became friends. Before the trip was over, Gerald and Garrett even got to partake in a fire dance with a local tribe.

In 2009, Gerald was diagnosed with GBM, glioblastoma multiforme, brain cancer. That was a big blow. Garrett, only a sophomore in high school, remembers many trips to UCSF and during chemo, watching the Office, laughing with his dad at all of Steve Carrell's bad jokes. The typical GBM prognosis was months; however, this was Gerald and he was stubborn.

Gerald was hopeful and incredibly strong-willed. Throughout the toughest times he kept his sense of humor and spread love wherever he could. He loved to show off his MRI scans and the family jokingly called him "airhead" due to the missing portion of his brain. Even with chemo brain he passed his concealed carry handgun test with flying colors. He was always so grateful for his family and friends supporting him. Gerald defied the odds and learned to live again. He was vivacious as ever. In 2010 his family surprised him with a 25-year anniversary vow renewal in Sonoma. Gerald had his fishing buddy, John, and hunting buddy, Peter, to keep him busy after his retirement in 2014.

One holiday he always looked forward to was the annual 4th of July family reunion at Ice House. He would start planning games and activates months in advance. The stories shared from boat races across the lagoon to fishing rivalries and the infamous Jiffy Pop Challenge were nothing short of legendary. Gerald always knew how to have a good time. You'd always see him with a smile on his face and boy did he love to make new friends everywhere he went. He had a servant heart, always giving and helping others. Whether it was washing dishes, building closets for family, projects for church, or coaching others who were diagnosed with brain cancer. He continued his relationship with the Lord until the end.

Gerald was so proud to see his son graduate from the University of California, Davis in 2015 and then also graduate from medical school in 2019 and get engaged. Many big moments that will never be forgotten. He was able to enjoy 11 years post initial diagnosis, time we didn't know we would have. Gerald passed peacefully on October 14th, 2020, surrounded by family. He was an unforgettable husband, father, and friend who will forever be remembered for the resilient, funny, smart, and giving man he was. We will miss you Gerald.
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