Former Toponas and Yampa resident Ollis L. "Mitch" Mitchell went to be with his Lord and Savior on Sept. 12, 2005, at the St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Okla. He was 86.
Ollis was born Jan. 26, 1919, at Mouse Point in Delaware County, Okla., to Willie and Nancy Charlotte (Welch) Mitchell. He married Billie M. Allery on Nov. 19, 1943.
Ollis and Billie moved to Copper Spur in 1951. By 1953, they moved to Toponas, where Ollis began working for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad.
He was also a member of the Egeria Roping Club and raised and trained quarter horses.
In 1963, after the death of their son, Marvin, the family moved to Yampa. Ollis was working as a foreman on the Bridge and Building.
Beginning in 1965, he and Billie operated the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Hotel and Cafes in Phippsburg then took over the one in Bond, then they returned to run the one in Phippsburg again.
In 1967, Ollis was inducted into the Mason's Egeria Lodge 106.
In 1976, the couple retired together from the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Hotel and Cafes, and moved to Salina, Okla., where he enjoyed fishing, bluegrass music and gardening. He seemed to always catch the biggest fish and grow the largest squash.
He was a trial member of the Cherokee Nation and also a member of the Cherokee crafters group called "Kenwood Arts and Crafts."
He loved woodworking and created beautiful jewelry boxes using many native woods that he harvested from his land. These "one of a kind" boxes have sold nationwide. The Smithsonian Institute contacted him and asked for three of his best boxes to put on display with other American Indian art. He said, "If they want them, they can buy them like everybody else." Needless to say, they never got any of his work.
Ollis is preceded in death by his wife of nearly 60 years, Billie; his parents, Willie and Charlotte Mitchell; one son, Willie "Marvin" Mitchell; one granddaughter, Angelina; one great-grandson, Hunter; one sister, Gertha Sutterfield; and one brother, Edgar Mitchell.
Ollis is survived by one daughter, Donna "Susie" Sandoval, and her husband, Mike, of Kingsland, Ariz.; one son, Harry "Gene" Mitchell, and his wife, Madelyn, of Salina, Okla.; one brother, Billy Mitchell of Bixby, Okla.; three sisters, Francis Hancock of Tulsa, Okla., Ola Blaine of Pryor, Okla., and Nola King of La Grande, Ore.; seven grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren, and many loving nieces and nephews and other family and friends.
Funeral services were held Sept. 15, 2005, in the First Baptist Church in Salina, Okla. His great-grandson Kyle Anderson sang, "Where We'll Never Die" and "The Old Rugged Cross."
Casket bearers were grandsons Jamie Sandoval and Merle Mitchell; grandson-in-law Roy Howard, and great-grandsons Tommy Guhl, Kyle Anderson, Kalvin Anderson, Brian Handel and Tanner Sandoval.