Bruce Page Mitchell left this life for his next great adventure, February 20, 2023, passing from Alzheimer’s Disease at Legacy Ridge of Woodstock Assisted Living. He was 77 years old. Born on August 19, 1945, in Pittsfield MA, he was the son of the late Robert Ernest Mitchell and Vera Mona Page Mitchell.
Bruce attended school in Pittsfield until high school. Due to his parents’ divorce and his dad’s remarriage, he moved with his mother and sister Lois Ann (nickname Jodie) to Greenville, New York, where he attended and graduated from Greenville Central High School. He attended State University of New York in Fredonia NY from 1964-1968 but left college to enlist in the Air Force in 1968. He never saw combat duty in Viet Nam but served stateside until 1972, obtaining the rank of Sergeant. He trained in ground radio communications and electronic digital data processing, where he developed an interest in computer technology. After an honorable discharge from the Air Force, Bruce moved to Meriden CT and worked for Canberra Industries from 1973 to 1983 as a Field Service Engineer. He worked providing and servicing nuclear and X-ray detectors for nuclear power plants and government facilities worldwide, including Saudi Arabia and China. In his spare time when home he enjoyed sailing his boat on the waters of Long Island Sound. He also pursued evening studies at Teikyo Post University to finish his degree.
In 1985, after his mother retired and had moved to Signal Mountain, Tennessee, to an active adult living facility and his sister and her husband Bill were transferred to Georgia, Bruce decided to move to Georgia to join his sister and his brother-in-law. He worked for AT and T and then its spin-off, Lucent Technologies, as a network engineer from 1987 to 2001 in Sandy Springs, GA. In 2001, he retired from Lucent Technologies. He started a second career as a Laser Surgical Technician with Laser Ventures in Woodstock, GA from 2007 until the company was sold to a national company in 2015. He then retired permanently.
In 1987, His sister Jodie thought her shy brother needed to meet more people and encouraged him to join a singles group. He joined United Singles at Dunwoody United Methodist Church. On a fateful Saturday night, he attended a chili cook-off sponsored by United Singles at one of the member’s homes. Since he was shy, he needed a way to break the ice with other people, so he wore a uniquely shaped wine glass around his neck that was secured by a leather strap and balanced on his chest, so he could eat and not have to hold a glass in his hand. It also acted as a conversation starter for him because it was such an unusual looking wine glass. It caught the attention of a lady veterinarian in attendance, Dr. Nelwyn Stone, who thought (wrongly!), “Oh, goodness, that guy is a serious drinker! I’ve got to stay away from him!” But to be friendly and polite to a new visitor to their group, she did ask him about the unusual looking wine glass. After that initial encounter and several other meetings with the United Singles group, he joined the church. He then asked her to see a movie with him, “The Untouchables.” They started dating.
On New Year’s Day, 1988, Nelwyn, a small animal and exotic veterinarian, had to deal with a sick patient, a bloated Boa Constrictor which had been kept under cold conditions for too long at its home, and was hospitalized in an incubator at her clinic! She had ordered some special medication for the animal, and she asked Bruce if he could help her with the Boa since the clinic was closed that day and she needed help getting the medication into the snake. He dutifully went with her to the clinic, and bravely held the writhing three-foot animal while she passed a tube down the snake’s throat to administer the medication. After giving the medication, which was simethicone, in a compounded liquid form, Nelwyn put the snake back into its warm incubator, and the snake started to burp! It kept burping, and with each burp the snake’s body got smaller, relieved of the bloating gas in its belly! Bruce was fascinated by the burping snake and watched the animal improve right before his eyes! The snake went home the next morning, back to its normal size, warmed up, and eating again! Nelwyn thought, “If this man would give up his bowl games and parades on a New Year’s Day to help me treat a snake, of all things, he is the guy for me!” They were married April 6, 1991, at Dunwoody United Methodist Church. They lived with their blended furred and feathered family, Bruce’s two dogs, Tika and Big Dog, and Nelwyn’s dog, Sandy; her cat Amanda Leigh; and two birds, Pockets and Mona, at Nelwyn’s home in Doraville. They moved the clan to Woodstock, GA in 1999 to be closer to Nelwyn’s new job.
Nelwyn encouraged Bruce to go back to college and finally finish his degree. He started evening classes at Kennesaw State University and transferred his credits back to Teikyo Post University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 1991. With his IQ of 142, he received an invitation to join Mensa, the international high IQ society, but he turned it down! He enjoyed attending concerts (he was a little bit country, Nelwyn was a whole lot of rock and roll), such as Alabama, The Judds, The Oak Ridge Boys, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Celtic Thunder, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the Rolling Stones, to name a few. He enjoyed crossword puzzles, computer games, board games, and reading the National Geographic and Reader’s Digest magazines from cover to cover each month. He loved spending time with the life-long friends he made at United Singles and Dunwoody United Methodist Church. He will be remembered as a kind, gentle man who was always willing to help a friend, neighbor, stranger, or any of God’s creatures, no matter the species!
Bruce and Nelwyn both enjoyed travelling and in 1999 visited China to see how much it had changed since Bruce was last there in 1974. From 1988 to 2020 they regularly attended the North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando, Florida. Bruce loved visiting the conference exhibit hall while Nelwyn was in lectures. He picked up all kinds of free veterinary samples for Nelwyn and her practice to try, free or deeply discounted pet toys for all the “pet kids back home,” a year’s supply of free ink pens for his work, free T-shirts, books for Nelwyn, and other goodies. He brought so many souvenirs home from each conference Nelwyn had to buy him a suitcase just to haul home all his exhibit hall treasures! He also enjoyed the sponsored trips for the attendees’ spouses and families, such as to Sea World and Animal Kingdom. He took advantage of the time in Florida to visit with his two Aunts, Lois, and Edith (his dad’s sisters), and their spouses who lived in Vero Beach, and with a cousin in Orlando. He also visited two high school classmates and their spouses who wintered on the West coast in Zephyr Hills to catch up with the news and gossip in Greenville, New York. However, 2020 was the last time Bruce and Nelwyn were able to attend the conference as his dementia was already taking hold of him and it became quite evident during the trip to his wife and his friends.
Bruce leaves behind to cherish his memory his wife of 31 years, Dr. Nelwyn Stone, his stepbrother Randy Rounds, and sisters, Lois Ann Codwise (Bill), and half-sister Deborah Ann Mitchell, many nieces and nephews, and his beloved current furred and feathered children, canine son Harley Jamerson, feline daughter Alice Catherine, and avian son Rudy McTootie. He was pre-deceased by his mother, his father, and his older half-sister, Dr. Heidie Clara Mitchell, who had also succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease.
The family would like to thank all of Bruce’s caregivers in the Memory Care facility at Legacy Ridge of Woodstock for their excellent care while he was living there. They would also like to express their appreciation to the employees at Capstone Hospice, particularly Anna, and nurses, Julie, and Jenny, for taking such good care of Bruce in his final days.
A memorial service will be announced at a future date. Arrangements are being provided by Poole Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 1970 Eagle Drive, Woodstock, GA. 30189. Phone 678-932-2097. Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or to the Wounded Warrior Project.