Mandeville, Manchester and the Jamaica Baptist Union, JBU community have been plunged into mourning following the death of well-known Justice of the Peace, JP Mrs Yolanda Mitchell. Mrs Mitchell otherwise called “Justice” or “Mrs Mitch” had been ailing for a few years and died at the age of 91 years on December 13, 2019.

A devout Baptist, Mrs Mitchell died as a founding Deacon of the New Green Baptist Church in the Mandeville Circuit of Baptist Churches. As an acclaimed organist and pianist in the Baptist denomination, she sat on the Ministers’ Fraternal in Mandeville for several years. During Keswick Convention in the parish for many years, Deacon Mitchell coordinated the musical aspect of the interdenominational Christian group and sat on the Executive Committee. For over 60 years, the residence of Deacon Mitch was the home for many ministers not only of the JBU but other denominations. These men and women of the cloth would be re-energized not only by the wisdom of Deacon Mitchell, but her sumptuous meals would be well prepared and received.

The Baptist community and in particular New Green Church remembers Deacon Mitch as a faithful servant of God who showed compassion, dedication and commitment to the Church and community. The winsome personality was a true child of God for over seven decades. She is remembered for her musical skills to the Church, community and one of the founding members and pianist of the Evan Grant Chorale in Mandeville. Her beautiful soprano and contralto tones would be perfect for the smallest and largest choirs as she knew how to pitch her voice well. She is remembered for her love for Church music, songs from the “Favourites”, scripts from Handel Messiah, The Hallelujah Chorus and Anthems in general. She had a close relationship with the Youth Fellowship and Sunday School at her Church. She was also an active member of the local branch of the Jamaica Baptist Women’s Federation and board member of several schools both public and private.

For over three decades, Mrs Mitchell dedicated her professional life as Supervisor of the Kitchens and Food and Beverage Department at Windalco Bauxite Jamaica Limited in Manchester and has been remembered for her delicious meals, great leadership and administrative skills. She was honored several times for her achievements by Windalco.

This giant community stalwart was honored by the Government of Jamaica with the Badge of Honour for long and faithful service to the community and was also the recipient of the Governor General’s Award. In addition, she was honored by The Kiwanis Club of Mandeville where she was a member.

During this Yuletide season, if she were still with us, mother extraordinaire would be catering for lots of financial institutions, hardwares, churches, hospitals and other businesses, sharing the love of Christmas with family and friends drinking and eating sorrel, Christmas cake, ham and gungo rice and peas which she did “straight from the heart”. It is my hope that while we remember Deacon Mitch during this special Season, we remember and smile with the rich legacy she left behind.

As an organist and pianist in the Baptist Church, I remember on several occasions having to share the musical instrument with her. During her 91st birthday earlier this year, I remember playing for her two musical pieces “Christ Returneth” and “He giveth more grace”. Though she was ailing I could see her lips moving to the words of the songs while she gave that smile which showed joy and happiness. I will cherish the wonderful moments with you, my second mother.

She leaves behind adult children, son-in-law, daughters-in-law, several adopted children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, sisters, brothers, other relatives and a host of friends. Her husband, Lloyd, predeceased her in February 2018.

Funeral arrangements will be announced soon. We miss you Mrs Mitchell and will see you in the sweet by and by. Her soul is resting in peace.

Contributed by HE Prof Colin O Jarrett
Senior News Editor
December 13, 2019

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