April 17, 1925 – March 5, 201
The Man of the Roses Goes Gently into That Good Night
On Thursday March 5th, 2015 at Greenwoods Eldercare Society, we said a tearful goodbye to Alex Mitchell. A few weeks shy of his 90th birthday, Alex passed peacefully from congestive heart failure, rejoining Avril his long-time Lady of the Roses.
Residents of Salt Spring Island since 1990, Alex and Avril bought a lot at Brinkworthy, mere hours after driving off the ferry; such was his immediate conviction for the Island. He once mentioned the only regret he had in life was not coming to Salt Spring sooner.
Alex’s proclivity to embellish nearly everything led to two things: creative cooking and a career as a Driftwood columnist. For nearly a decade Islanders read about all aspects of his upbringing in Scotland, his love affair with himself, his deep love for Avril and her struggle with Alzheimer’s, his own defeat of prostate cancer and a couple of knee replacements. In 2000 Alex published a compilation of Driftwood articles into his popular book and CD titled A Rose Every Friday. His conversations were legendary and few residents of Salt Spring were denied them. Rare is the individual who didn’t receive a rose, magnetic frog or ladybug from Alex.
Born in Glasgow Scotland, Alex served as a Sub Lieutenant in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm and was a Spitfire fighter pilot in the Second World War. Following his discharge, he trained as a teacher and taught at various schools in Scotland including schools for the mentally and physically handicapped and the deaf. After he and Avril immigrated to Canada in 1953, Alex continued his pedagogical pursuits ultimately earning a master’s degree in education and enjoying many years as a school teacher and counsellor in Etobicoke, Ontario. In retirement Alex and Avril moved west with their beloved cats Honey and Sam, first spending time in Vancouver (False Creek) and Victoria (Ten Mile Point) before settling, extremely happily, on Salt Spring Island.
He is predeceased by the love of his life, Avril in 1998 and leaves behind his sons Fraser (Jan) and Ian (Andrea), his granddaughter Kara and good friend Joan Phipps.
The family is grateful for the thoughtful and professional care provided by the staff at Greenwoods Eldercare Society and Lady Minto Hospital. In addition we wish to acknowledge and thank Dr. Ron Reznick and Jean Southgate for their friendship and support over the years.
In memory of Alex, why not give a rose to someone you love? Donations can also be made in Alex’s memory to Greenwoods Eldercare Society, or a local charity of your choice. A memorial service will be announced at a later date once we all stop crying.