Willie J. Mitchell Jr., a custodian in Facilities Management-building custodial and support services at Western Michigan University, died suddenly at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo Sept. 16. He was 40.
Willie J. Mitchell Jr.
Mitchell joined the WMU staff in 2006 as a parking enforcement officer and began working as a custodian in 2009.
He was an active member of WMU's local of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, having served as a bargaining representative for building custodial and support services and been voted in as vice president of the local.
Over the years, Mitchell was a volunteer with the University's Seita Scholars Program, helping new Seita Scholars move into their residence halls when they first arrived on campus. He also helped to cook a bountiful holiday dinner for the scholars who stayed on campus over holiday recess, when most other students were able to return home.
Mitchell loved people and was a friend to everyone he met. He enjoyed working at WMU, being a part of the union and fishing. The Kalamazoo native also was a hard worker with an entrepreneurial spirit and had partnered with a close friend to start a small lawn-care business.
Visitation is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, in the Harper Funeral Home Chapel, 521 Douglas Ave. in Kalamazoo.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27, in Christ Temple Church, 3498 N. 26th St. in Kalamazoo.
To share a tribute, visit the Harper Funeral Home website at harperfuneral.com.