Submitted by Lisa Ward Purdie, Lincoln County native.
Heroes come in all forms, some as life-savers, some as just life enhancers. My hero, who passed peacefully on Monday night, enhanced not only my life, but also the lives of everyone he touched. Married to my sister since I was two, he was not just a brother-in-law, but was my BROTHER in the truest sense of the word.
Mitchell Waldon lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at Hospice Ministries in Ridgeland with his high school sweetheart and wife of 47 years, Sherry, by his bedside, a spot she had held since his diagnosis back in August. Joined in matrimony in 1965, Sherry and Mitchell were totally devoted to each other, keeping the vow “in sickness and in health” to the letter.
Born Aug. 14, 1945 to Roy and Evelle Smith Waldon, Mitchell grew up in Lincoln County and attended Brookhaven High School, Copiah-Lincoln, and Mississippi College. Sherry and Mitchell lived in Jackson after marriage while he was attending night school at MC and working at Shainberg’s.
After Mitchell’s graduation from MC with a degree in business administration, the couple moved back to Brookhaven where he worked in retail sales with Bendix Mobile Homes. During this time, from 1966 to 1972, Mitchell was a member of the Mississippi National Guard and spent many weekends at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg. Members of Brookway Church of Christ, Sherry and Mitchell were blessed with two children, Holly Ann, who died at 18 months, and Adam, who lives in Brookhaven.
A fan of yard work and gardening, Mitchell could always be seen on his lawn mower. My mother, Essie Mae, would often remark that she had “never seen a man love to cut grass like Mitch.” He also spent hours in his wood working shop and built enough birdhouses for what seemed every tree in the Hilltop community. But his biggest joy was spending time with his grandchildren and his big, loud-mouthed family. The annual “Griswold trip” took place every summer, and though he often grumbled about it, Mitchell never missed it.
My favorite times with Mitchell were during the days of the Old 550 Opry House. Although we started out as a duo, with Mitch on drums, me on guitar, we luckily found other musicians and formed the band, The Hylites. Those memories of Mitchell rockin’ away on his set of red drums will remain with me always.
Mitchell was preceded in death by his daughter, Holly Ann; mother, Evelle; sister, Joann Pierce and brother-in-law, Jerry Pierce; and his in-laws, Earl and Essie Ward. He is survived by his father, Roy Waldon; wife, Sherry; son, Adam; and grandchildren Holly Claire Waldon and Jamison Boyd; sisters Patsy Smith (Ricky) and Linda Beacham (John); sisters-in-law, Lisa Purdie (Alan) and Pam Price (Joe); also nephews Robbie Sartin (Billie Faye) and Steve Sartin (Jodie); nieces, Annalee Purdie, Celeste Case (Ricky), Dana Smith (Jeff) and Stacey Lovette (Brad) and many great nieces and nephews. His beloved Springer Spaniel, Sadie, also remains behind, and will miss her best buddy terribly.
Visitation will be held at Riverwood Family Funeral Service on Wednesday, Dec. 19, from 5 to 9 with funeral service on Thursday, Dec. 20, at 10 a.m. at Riverwood Chapel and burial at New Salem Church of Christ in the Loyd Star community. The family wishes to express our deep gratitude to Hospice Ministries in Ridgeland; Dr. David Carner and staff; and our beloved friends from Brookway Church of Christ and Brother Wendell Davis. Also, a special thanks to Steve Wooten, Mitchell’s life-long friend, who has been with us from the beginning of this terrible diagnosis and has brought words of comfort on every visit.
Memorials can be made to the Berean Children’s Home or personal charity of your choice.
To express your thoughts to the family, you may visit riverwoodfamily.com and click on his name to leave a comment.