Philip Herbert Mitchell

May 2, 1931June 22, 2018

The Rev. Doctor Philip Herbert Mitchell died early in the morning of June 22nd at his home in Orleans, MA. He had completed 87 trips around the sun. He was the husband of the late Barbara Fay (Madden) Mitchell, and the father of Christi Ann Mitchell and the late Timothy Paul Mitchell. He was born to Clarence Herbert Mitchell and Elsie (Moore) Mitchell in Northampton, MA and was brother to Robert Mitchell and his late wife Ruth Mitchell, the late Shirley (Mitchell) Moser and the late Thomas Moore Mitchell. He is also survived by his beloved daughter-in-law Alicia Nulty Mitchell and adored grandson Benjamin Mitchell, his son-in-law Andrew Sell, brother-in-law Ken Moser, sister-in-law Tammy Mitchell; nieces Nicki Bodenstein, Kathryn Brown, and Emily Bryant; nephews Col. Martin Mitchell, Andy Moser, Steve Moser, Gary Moser and David Moser; cousins Donald, Jo Ann and David Mitchell, Lynn Wilson, Tony Stavely and Paul Stavely, and their spouses and children and grandchildren too numerous to list.

Rev. Mitchell – Phil – Dad – graduated from Amherst, MA high school in 1949, started college at Amherst College and then joined the Army during the Korean War. After two years of military service, he returned to school, graduating from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in 1955. In 1957, he married the girl next door, Barbara, with whom he celebrated 54 years of marriage until her death in 2011. He then attended Andover Newton Theological School, served as a student pastor at the Maple Street Congregational Church in Danvers, MA, and graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity in 1959. Twenty years later, he received his Doctorate in Ministry from the San Francisco Theological Seminary.

He was ordained as a minister in 1958 while serving as minister at Federated Church of Charlton, MA. In 1962, he and Barbara moved to Hollis, NH, where he served the Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) of Hollis, NH until 1972, during which time they adopted their daughter Christi Ann and their son Timothy Paul. The entire family moved to Binghamton, NY in 1972, where he was the minister of the First Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) until his retirement in 1993. After moving to Orleans, he served as interim minister at the Congregational Church of South Dennis, MA (twice), the Federated Church of Hyannis, MA and the First Church of Pembroke, MA. Long a trustee of Andover Newton Theological School, he also served as the Interim Dean of Students. He authored two books, Desire to See God, and Lifted Like a Loon.

“To Believe is to Care – to Care is to Do.” These are the words by which Phil Mitchell lived his life – whether as a friend or a family member, a chaplain or a minister, a Rotarian or a volunteer. A fair man, he was passionate about social justice, and as a young minister, he joined Dr. Martin Luther King in Montgomery, AL, linking hands and singing We Shall Overcome. As a Chaplain in the Army Reserve, where he obtained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, he ministered to men and women in times of war and in moments of peace. As a community member, he gave freely of his time and energy to many good causes – Metro Interfaith, Habitat for Humanity, Homeless Prevention Council, Housing Assistance Corporation, the Cape Cod Council of Churches and Wells Court Apartments – and touched many lives along the way. As a lifelong Red Sox fan he knew sorrow and joy, and yet was always optimistic and cheerful. His family fondly remembers him during summers at the Cape, body surfing at Nauset Beach, rooting for the Cardinals and Firebirds at Eldredge Park, and watching the sun set over Town Cove. He was a good listener, a talented photographer (when he remembered to turn on the camera), a lover of flower gardens and one never to say no to dinner out with friends. He also made the coffee.

The funeral service will be held on Saturday, July 7th at 2:00 p.m. at the Federated Church of Orleans, 162 Main Street, East Orleans, MA with a reception in the church vestry immediately following. Dad asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Ted Madden Scholarship Fund, Amherst Regional High School, 21 Mattoon Street, Amherst, MA 01002; the Memorial Fund at the Federated Church of Orleans, PO Box 761, East Orleans, MA 02643; or Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod, 411 Main Street, Suite 6, Yarmouth Port, MA 02675. Cremation services are being provided by Nickerson Funeral Home of Orleans, MA.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, July 7, 2018

Philip Herbert Mitchell

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Rich Barron

July 5, 2018

Please accept my deepest sympathy in your loss of Phil Mitchell. When I accepted the call to the pastorate of the Community Baptist Church of Port Dickinson, and met my colleague Phil Mitchell, we had an immediate bond since both of us graduated from Andover Newton. Our friendship grew when I began meeting with a group of clergy (Roman Catholic and Protestant) of which Phil was already a member. When I studied for my Doctor of Ministry at the Theological School, Drew University, I needed a local advisor and Phil was my choice and graciously helped me through the process, at one point driving to Madison, NJ (Drew's location) to meet with faculty and with me as part of my experience. I couldn't have asked for a better advisor. Two memories: Phil enjoyed walking with the Episcopal priest, Art Dorsam, each morning, but wouldn't walk next to him when he wore his "Old Fart" hat! And when Phil chose the color for the paraments in the sanctuary, he ignored the official colors of the church year and had the paraments match the flowers! Bless you all as you celebrate Phil's life. The Rev. Dr. Rich Barron, retired American Baptist pastor.

Ted & Dora Nickel

July 2, 2018

Our condolences to Dr. Mitchell's family. We were members of Phil's church in Binghamton, NY for many years, and he was our pastor and our friend. Phil was a true gentleman and a positive influence on our family.

Koreen Dean

June 27, 2018

Mom, Weibley and I are so sorry to hear of your loss. Reverend Mitchell has always been the minister I compare everyone else to and none can compare. My dad always talked about his sermon about the phoenix with great laughter. Mom loves to talk about trips to Cape Cod to his cottage and all the great times there. The Congregational Church in Binghamton was home to so many of us, with your Dad making all of us kids feel a part of it. Please accept our condolences. He was a great, kind man with a fun smile. I don't see a cartoon mouse without thinking of Chauncy. I know words cannot give the comfort you need, but please know you are in our prayers.

Heather Excell

June 26, 2018

So sorry to hear of your loss. He was a very special person. I remember how he would make us baked eggs in the morning when we would go to the cottage. I always thought how great it was to have such an important person make us breakfast. I always looked up to him, he was so kind and when I thought about him through the years a peace and love would go through me. Always wanted to go visit him in Cape cod but never got a chance. Feel truly blessed to have known him.

Dr. Steve Excell

June 26, 2018

I send my condolences to Christi and the Mitchell family. I had beautiful childhood memories at church and remembering the smells and sound of the church. Listening to your father’s sermons and Sunday school. Was truely blessed having your family in my life.

Dr. Steve Excell