Homer Mitchell (born Homer MacNamee), 81, passed away Feb. 4, 2023, under the care of High Peaks Hospice at his home in Jay, New York. Mr. Mitchell was a teacher of college English and a poet. He was born in Ithaca, NY on March 30, 1941.
The son of Margaret Elizabeth Pritchard and Homer B. MacNamee II, Homer was raised in Ogdensburg, NY by his mother and his adoptive father, Edwin G. Mitchell, Jr.. He attended city schools and graduated from Ogdensburg Free Academy in 1959. He studied at Alfred University, where he was a member of Kappa Psi Upsilon fraternity, and later received his BA through New York's Regents External Degree Program. He completed his MFA in poetry at Goddard College in 1992.
Mr. Mitchell taught writing and literature at several colleges, including SUNY Cortland, SUNY Potsdam, Green Mountain College, and Clinton Community College, as well as the Jefferson County Correctional Facility. He was dedicated to the service-learning concept and the Educational Opportunity Program, and actively promoted civic engagement initiatives for students. He served on the boards of several non-profit agencies, including arts organizations and youth and senior services, and was an arts council president and director. A lifelong writer, his poetry and prose were published widely in various literary journals and anthologies. In 2022 he compiled and published Out of these Woods, featuring his selected writings in multiple genres from 1976 to 2021.
Before turning to the teaching he loved, Homer enjoyed a rich and varied career in both the public and private sectors. He managed job training programs, wrote grants and advertising copy, worked in fast food marketing and management, and directed the advertising and technical writing departments for machinery manufacturers. As a freelance writer, he edited books on a wide variety of topics. He was an avid photographer of the North Country and the Adirondacks whose striking images received recognition and were displayed publicly. His extensive, eclectic collection of books and records testified to his lifelong love of literature and music. A dedicated climber, he became Adirondack 46er number 2747 in 1990. In 2006, he moved to the woods, near the mountains he loved; there, along with his beloved wife Kim Marie, he pursued his love of canoeing, camping, and the everyday wonders of the Adirondacks-like chatting on the back porch with their German Shepherd at their side, identifying the birds that frequented the feeder they referred to as the Mitchell café, and awaiting the deer that approached at dusk. He also loved the St. Lawrence River where he grew up, and often returned with family in the summer to watch the ships go by. Those who knew him will always remember his humor, his formidable mind, his sense of the absurd, and his eye and ear for beauty.
Mr. Mitchell was predeceased by his mother, Margaret Elizabeth Pritchard Mitchell; his adoptive father, Edwin G. Mitchell, Jr.; his father, Homer B. MacNamee II; his brother, Max MacNamee (John Pritchard Mitchell); and his half-sister, Heather MacNamee. He is survived by his wife of nearly 25 years, Kim Marie; his sister Wendy Mitchell Starkweather of Henderson, NV; his daughter Margaret E. Mitchell of Atlanta, GA; his son Homer D. Mitchell of Cortland, NY; his step-daughter Patti-Lynne Elliott of Idaho Falls, ID; his step-son Lucas G. Elliott of Jay, NY; his granddaughter Gwendolynne M. Bradley; and his nephew Ethan L. Starkweather of Las Vegas, NV.
Private services will be held.
Services were entrusted to Heidrick-Zaumetzer Funeral Home, Au Sable Forks.