Water Mitchell Jr., formerly of Southampton, died November 19 in Port Jefferson. He was 73.
Born in Aiken, South Carolina, on September 1, 1941, he was the son of Walter Mitchell Sr. and Minnie Mae Sawyer Bell, both of whom predeceased him. Growing up he was a member of Kings Chapel in Southampton, and later he joined the Galilee Church of God in Christ in Riverhead.
He attended Southampton public schools, graduating at the top of his class and earning a reputation as “best dressed.” An accomplished all-county athlete, he tried out for two professional teams, the New York Yankees and the New York Giants.
He worked as a title examiner, the first African American to hold the position in Suffolk County. He was also employed by Fred Ackerly in the early 1960s. For many years, he served as the director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Freeport, Illinois.
He married Millicent Cobb in the early 1990s; she predeceased him in 2005.
Survivors said he enjoyed many games and sports, including cards, chess and bowling, a sport he considered a “profession,” having bowled many perfect 300 games. Survivors said a memorable hobby was doing income taxes.
In addition to his parents and his wife, Mr. Mitchell was predeceased by a sister, Mary Roach, and a brother, John Mitchell. He is survived by his children, Walter Mitchell and wife Robin of Georgia, Deborah Reneé Richards and husband Roy of Riverhead, William Mitchell and wife Sherri of Denver, Dion Hope and husband Shane of Westhampton Beach, Zipora Hopson and husband Kenneth of Mississippi, Justin Mitchell of New York, and Candi Cobbs of Mastic. He is also survived by a goddaughter, Odessa Wingfield of Southampton; his brothers, Samuel Sawyer and wife Betty, and Thomas Sawyer, both of Riverhead, Albert Ray and wife Donna of New Jersey, Lamar Bell of Southampton, Kevin Bell of Mastic; an aunt, Ruby Glover of South Carolina; 22 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild; and a host of nieces and nephews, including one special nephew, Nathaniel Roach, known as “Bubba.”
A funeral was held on Monday, November 24, at Galilee Church of God in Christ in Riverhead, followed by cremation. Funeral arrangements were under the direction of the Brockett Funeral Home in Southampton.