July 26, 1939 – March 10, 2017
A Mass of Christian of Burial for Dean Mitchell, age 77, of Arnolds Park, was held Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Spirit Lake. Burial was at St. Margaret Cemetery.
Dean W. Mitchell, 77 of Arnolds Park passed away Friday, March 10, 2017, at his home with family by his side. He was born July 26, 1939 at Pipestone, Minnesota, to Wallace and Helen Mitchell. His family moved to Rock Rapids and as a young man Dean helped his father with harness racing and got his first taste in the motel business when his dad bought a hotel.
After graduating from Rock Rapids in 1957, Dean attended the University of South Dakota earning degrees in teaching and business. He entered the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant and after college graduation he remained in the Guard, where his unit was called to Vietnam in 1968. Discharged as a Captain in 1969, Dean returned home to resume his position as a teacher, coach and principal.
Dean married his high school sweetheart Kathy Sullivan in 1962 and they had two children, Mike and Joni. He purchased land on West Lake Okoboji that had eight small cottages and through the years it expanded to the Four Seasons Resort and the Dry Dock restaurant.
His other businesses include Rueben’s Theater, The Lighthouse Restaurant and real estate ventures. Dean most loved the Iowa Great Lakes and never failed to mention them during his travels. He also enjoyed boating on Okoboji, football games, socializing and spending time with friends and family. He served on the Arnolds Park City Council and was Park Commissioner for many years. Dean was a member of St Mary’s Catholic Church, the American Legion, Chamber of Commerce and Okoboji Tourism.
Dean will be remembered for always celebrating his birthday for a whole month, and never moving past the age of 33. He was respected and liked by so many people; Army buddies, the students he taught, all the young people that worked for him through the years and the community he was a part of. He made many friends and touched a lot of lives and will be missed by all. He loved life, lived a great life, and he always had a sense of humor and an unforgettable smile.
He is survived by his children, Joni (Tim) Mitchell of Spirit Lake and Mike (Jill) Mitchell of Port Aransas, Texas; grandchildren, Paige Kelly, Jon, Matti, Mallory and Joe; his loving partner, Jody Fliss, her entire family and many friends.
Dean was preceded in death by his parents, Wallace and Helen Mitchell both passing away in 1989 and his wife Kathy in 1987.
Turner Jenness Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.