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Dr. Joseph Calvin Mitchell

August 16, 1948 ~ July 2, 2019 (age 70)
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MITCHELL, Dr. Joseph “Joe” Calvin, age 70, passed away July 2, 2019, in a tragic accident. Joe was a former longtime resident of Richmond, Virginia, and was most recently living in Fort White, Florida. He was preceded in death by his parents, Kathleen and Calvin Mitchell; and brother-in-law, Billy Johnson. Joe is survived by his wife, Dr. Susan Walls of Fort White, Florida; four children, Tanya Shewmake with first wife, Ginny Meeks, Joshua, Justin and Lisa Mitchell with second wife, Wendy Robertson; two grandchildren, Allison and James Shewmake; two brothers, Ron (Karen), Allen (Patti); sister, Susan Johnson; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. Joe was born August 16, 1948, in Lynchburg, Virginia. After graduating from high school in 1966, Joe joined the U.S. Marine Corps (1966 to 1970). He attended Virginia Commonwealth University (B.S., biology), Arizona State University (M.S., zoology) and University of Tennessee (Ph.D., ecology). Joe was deeply passionate about herpetology. As a professional herpetologist, Joe taught classes at VCU and the University of Richmond in the 1980s, became a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution, and largely conducted research on the natural history of Virginia amphibians and reptiles. That work, in part, resulted in the publication of his first book, Reptiles of Virginia (Smithsonian Institution Press) in 1994. In 1989, Joe established his own private ecological consulting business, Mitchell Ecological Research Service, LLC. Since moving to North Florida in 2007, Joe additionally became a Research Associate in Herpetology at the Florida Museum of Natural History of the University of Florida, Gainesville. During his lifetime, Joe published over 500 scientific articles and authored or co-authored five books. He cherished the numerous friendships he made through his affiliation with many professional societies; indeed, he once wrote that “the collective professional herpetological community has been my tribe.” In his last few years, Joe enjoyed a semi-retired life on the six-acre property he shared with his wife and dogs, especially canine best friend, Jake, in rural North Florida. In lieu of flowers, charitable donations may be made to the American Heart Association, Alzheimer’s Foundation, the Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy or The Center for Biological Diversity. A Celebration of his life will be held, 11:00 am, Saturday, August 3, 2019 at Monaghan Funeral Home, 7300 Creighton Pkwy. Mechanicsville, VA 23111. A reception and social hour will be held immediately following the ceremony and military honors.

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