Betty Black Mitchell, 81, a longtime art teacher at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, died Sunday, May 12, 2019 at her home in Madison.
Visitation will be at Grace Episcopal Church on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 from 2 pm until the 4 p.m. memorial service. Burial will follow at Canton Cemetery.
Mitchell was born March 20, 1938 in Canton, Mississippi, to Floyd Aldon Black and Eugenia Howell Black. She grew up in Canton and graduated from Canton High School where she played oboe in the high school band. She earned a place during all four years of high school in the Mississippi Lions All-State Band, an accomplishment that pleased her even as an adult.
She graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was a member of Phi Mu and performed with the Ole Miss band as a majorette alongside Mary Ann Mobley. For several summers as a college student, she worked at Yellowstone National Park, an adventure that her mother, aunts and sisters had had before her.
Mitchell earned an M.F.A. from Florida State University and shared her knowledge of studio art and art history with countless students at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. She was beloved as a teacher by her students because she accepted them for who they were and encouraged each of them to become the best person they could be. She cherished hearing from her students and learning of their successes.
Small in stature, Mitchell was full of life, a natural born storyteller and laughed easily. She loved dogs, and in true southern style, often gave them double names in honor of people she knew.
For several years, she taught art classes at Allison’s Wells School of Arts & Crafts on the Square in Canton. She served as a docent for many of the exhibits in downtown Jackson sponsored by the Mississippi Commission on International Cultural Exchange.
Survivors include her son, Michael Black Mitchell of Oxford and his family, Lisa, and daughters Sylvia Caroline, Lillian Grace Camille, and Eliza Jolynn and sons Zachary Samuel and Jeremy Wyatt; partner Elmer Thurmond; nephew Scott Howell Hardin of Atlanta; niece Amy Caroline Hardin Chambers of Atlanta; five great-nephews and great-nieces; numerous cousins and many dear friends.
She was pre-deceased by her parents and her sisters Peggy Cheape Hardin and Linda Black of Atlanta.
Memorials may be made to French Camp Academy (1 Fine Place, French Camp, MS 39745-9989) or a charity of your choice.