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Robert McKinney Mitchel
July 29, 1933- November 27, 2021
“Don’t cry for me now I have died, for I’m still here I’m by your side,
My body’s gone but my soul is here, please don’t shed another tear.”

Robert McKinney Mitchel, age 88, of St. Helena Island, South Carolina, passed away peacefully, Saturday, November 27, 2021. He will be best remembered as “Coach” for his entire lifetime of service as a teacher (K-12), and high school coach with the Buffalo City Public Schools. He was born July 29, 1933, in Columbia, Tennessee to Thomas and Aline Mitchell.

Among his many accomplishments, Robert received his B.S. degree in Physical Education with a minor in Biology from Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee; Master of Education, from State University of New York at Buffalo; and units toward a doctoral degree in Educational Administration from State University at Buffalo.

Robert began teaching in the Buffalo City schools in 1958, teaching (grades 4-6) for 11 years and then spending over 25 years as a physical education teacher and coach at Kensington High School in Buffalo. He was always proud of his years of association with the thousands of students that he taught and coached and with the fine teachers, administrators, and school employees with whom he worked. From 1969-94, Robert coached varsity high school sports (Cross-Country, Basketball, Football and Tennis). He was a great role model; a great mentor and his teams were always well-prepared. His teams received championship awards and his coaching efforts produced prominent professional and college basketball players. He impacted multiple generations of student athletes before he retired in 1994. No matter what he did, Robert did it with “class”.

In retirement, Robert enjoyed reading; outdoor sporting; listening to music (he was fondest of jazz); and had a flare for cooking.

Robert is survived by his wife of 41 years, Cleo Mitchel; one daughter Renee (Scott) Pazary (Flower Mound, TX); two sons, Michael Mitchel (Rockville, MD) and Robert Mitchel Jr. (Berkeley, CA); grandchildren; nephews; nieces; brothers and sisters-in-law; cousins; many friends. Many thanks and prayers to the Crescent Hospice team that provided kind and compassionate care.

A memorial service will be held in Columbia, Tennessee at a later date.

Online Condolences

  1. Virgleen Seay says:

    With Sympathy Thinking of you and family with love and emotion . Love you family.

  2. Sampsons says:

    We are so sorry for your loss. Find peace in knowing that your beloved is resting in eternal peace. Cherish the memories. May God bless and keep you in the days, months and years ahead. We love you. Peace, blessings and love. Joyce, Gordon, Lisa, Gordon 11, Kimberly, Patrick, JR and Savannah

  3. Gordon Sampson II says:

    Wishing you a Peaceful Journey Uncle Bobby. Peace and Love will be showered on all those you’ve Loved and who have Loved you during your Journey of Life in your Memory.

  4. Dr. Betty L Mitchell says:

    My sincere condolences to Cleo and the entire family. Collectively, we pray for your comfort, peace and the Oil of Joy as you walk through this season in your life!!
    Sent with love,

  5. Owen & Audrey Johnson says:

    Our deepest sympathy to Cleo and the entire family. May you find comfort knowing that there are many hearts who care .We are sending deep sincere prayers and condolences from our hearts. Sorry for your loss. Cherish the memories.
    Love Owen and Audrey.

  6. Marvin Sanford says:

    Heartfelt condolences from the Sanford family.(Kensington High School, class of 1980)

  7. Dale Contee says:

    Cleo, so sorry for your loss. Please know that I am praying for you and your family during this difficult time.
    Love you, Dale

  8. Rudy Braswell says:

    My deepest condolences to the family rest up Coach Ken High class of 79

  9. Zack Williford says:

    RIP Mr Mitchell
    Yale Cup Champs 1978

  10. George Daniels says:

    RIP Mr Mitchell

  11. Butch G.Sanford Jr. says:

    My Sincere Condolences To the whole Mitchel family & friends. Coach it was an honor to follow My cousins playing football & basketball for you. You where so Funny as a teacher and coach. Thanks for the things you taught us all. May God Bless You on your journey to Heaven. I will always love you and remember you. Thanks again coach. Class of 1984 ! Kensington Knights 4Life.

  12. Mark Taylor says:

    RIP Mr Mitchell Ken High 77

  13. Marian&Eugene says:

    Our deepest sympathy to you and your family. Cleo, Bob will be missed but you must remember he loved you very much hold onto your memories

    Love Marian &Eugene

  14. Vernard McMillan says:

    Sending my deepest sympathy to coach Mitchel Family. Thank you for being a great coach and mentor.

  15. Thomas Adams says:

    My condolences go out to the Mitchell Family God Bless..

  16. Michael Thompson says:

    My first Basketball coach! What a great man! My Coach at school #17 May he Rest in Peace!!

  17. Yvette Fowler Turner says:

    May God wrap his loving arms around the Mitchel Family. It was a pleasure knowing Mr. Mitchel, he had so much class and style, and always was giving great advice to achieve excellence. The class of “78.
    Great memories.

  18. Jonathan King says:

    Thanks for the life lessons beyond sports Coach Mitchel. Condolences to The Mitchel family.❤️

  19. Sacha Shelton says:

    My condolences to the Mitchel family he was a great
    teacher he will be missed

  20. Michael Clark says:

    Rest in peace coach, and condolences to the family

  21. Ted J. Howard Jr. says:

    Prayers of comfort to the family! Coach impacted the lives of so many young men. Thanks coach for modeling what a strong black man looks like! RIP Class of 1975

  22. Kimberly Turner says:

    Sending my deepest & most sincerest condolences and prayers to the family. Coach Mitchell was a phenomenal man, he’ll be deeply missed.

    Kensington Class of 1988

  23. Tim Jones says:

    My deepest Condolences. Mr. Mitchel was very impactful in a lot of our lives. May he RIH.

  24. Jackueline Waters says:

    To the Mitchel family, he will be a great loss to the world, missed by many, Kensington High School Class of. “78”

  25. Rashawn Olbert says:

    My heartfelt condolences to the family.
    Kensington High School Class of 1990

  26. Rickey Williams says:

    My deepest condolences. Mr Mitchell was the Director at the Masten Boys Club, where I met him as a 10 year old and new kid to the club. Thanks for your leadership and guidance. R.I.P. Mr Mitchell !!!!

  27. Thelma Ailsworth says:

    RIP Mr. Mitchell

  28. Keith Clark says:

    Wow! I was up under Mr. Mitchell since I was nine years old at the Master Boys Club. I have learned a lot of my basketball skills from him. And after I left Woodlawn J.H.S he recruited me to come and play for him at Kensington H.S. We won the championship that year. R.I.P Coach Mitchell

  29. Bobby Deese says:

    Rip Mitch, Undefeated Yale Cup Championship Coach 1971.

  30. Candy J. says:

    Grace, peace and comfort to the Mitchel Family.
    Coach Mitchel was such a great coach and nice man.
    He meant business if you were an athlete under
    him. Going to miss your kind words!
    RIP Coach Mitchel. KenHS Class of #90

  31. Kevin Jenkins says:

    My deepest sympathies to the Mitchell family. Coach Mitchell was a man of deep nobility and had a passion to mentor students to achieve beyond their personal limitations. God rest his soul until resurrection morning. My prayers go out to his family.
    Dr. Kevin Jenkins
    Ken High class of ‘73

  32. LaVera Bakdon-Moses says:

    Rest In Perfect Peace Mr. Mitchell, Kensington High Class of 1981

  33. John c.Manney Sr. says:

    My sincere condolences to the family of coach mitchel.thanks for all of your support and guidance. Rip.
    Class of 77′

  34. Cheryl James-Johnson says:

    Mr. Mitchel will be missed by so many. Our memories of him will live on. My prayers go out to the family. Rest In Peace Mr. Mitchel. (Kensington High School class of 1980)

  35. Yolanda Lee says:

    Class of 1980, my sincere condolences to the Mitchell family….Mr Mitchell was one of the best…RIH❤

  36. HAZEL JONES says:

    My condolences to the family and may he rest in Heaven. Kensington High School Class of 1991

  37. Dan Nespal says:

    RIP Mr. Mitchell you’ll always be remember as one of the good guys. I was never “that athletic one” and even back then you never made me feel bad about it.
    I’ve tried to emulate that quality you bestowed upon me thru all aspects of my life.

    Enjoy walking with the lord and
    Coaching the new angels
    Respect ✊

  38. Michael Durning says:

    My Condolences to the family of Coach Robert Mitchel I played on the coaches Basketball Teams at Kensington HS from 1969 to 1972. Undefeated 18-0 1971 Thanks for the life’s lesson coach (Success or failure depends on self discipline) RIP Coach

  39. Tom Scime says:

    Good man. It was a pleasure to have know and worked with him.

  40. Michael Noble says:

    Coach Mitchel was a good leader and a great man condolences to the family. I learned how to work together as a team under his guidance on the basketball court..RIP COACH, Kensington HS Class of 1976

  41. Dawn Martin Berry-Walker says:

    My heartfelt condolences and prayers are being sent to the family of Bob Mitchel. As a child, he was a colleague of my mother’s at School #8. As an adult, he and I were colleagues at Kensington High School where we enjoyed a wonderful work relationship. I know he will be fondly remembered as a strong man, beautiful person and fantastic coach May he rest in peace.

  42. Tommie Wagstaff says:

    We send our condolences to the Mitchell Family. Mr. Robert Mitchell was our COACH OF CHAMPIONS.


  43. Antonio Yates says:

    Rest In Peace coach had our moments but ending up being learning steps but from the 89-90 Yale cup champs and he vouched for our tittle run slogan TEAMS GET BLOWN IN THE TERRORDOME…Ken hi legend rest up Mitch love&bless never be forgotten

  44. Valerie Gayles Turner says:

    My very sincere condolences to the family and friends of Coach Mitchell. You all are in my prayers.
    Kensington High School 1979.

  45. The Maclin family says:

    What a great a champion we’ve lost and the many life’s he had touched throughout the Buffalo community. Coach mitchell you will greatly missed.
    From my family to yours Rest in peace and my God comfort and keep your family doing this difficult time.

  46. Wesley Patillo says:

    A great gentleman, mentor, and coach. We thank you for the shining example you set and loving prayers to all of your family. We stand taller Sir for you are a great Knight who led us into many battles on the field and court with seeds of wisdom planted deeply within us for a lifetime. Rest in Peace and always in hearts. Kensington HS Class of 1979.

  47. Dawn Thompson Roberts says:

    Condolences to Mr. Mitchell’s family. Great days at KenHigh. What a great mentor and friend to all who knew him. Rest In Peace coach Mitchell. Praying for strength.
    Dawn Thompson Roberts “79”

  48. Jerome Stinger says:

    To Cleo and to the rest of the Mitchel family, I would like to express my condolences for the loss of Bob.
    I remember Bob for His love and appreciation of the outdoors. Whether fishing, boating, gardening, or just hanging out by his outdoor fireplace, he loved it all. Bob was a tennis fan and a football fan, especially the Buffalo Bills. He loved his dogs, his car collection and his South Carolina home. Bob was a man of taste and a gentleman, a loving husband and father and I will miss him.

  49. Mrs. Lillian Makle and Family says:

    Our sincere condolences to you and your family.
    Our prayers are with you.

  50. The Garraway Family says:

    Our deepest condolences to Cleo and the Mitchel family. What a nice person and great neighbor! May he rest in peace.

  51. Larry and Pat Mitchell says:

    God chose to call home our patriarch of the Mitchell family. Uncle Bobby will remain a living monument for his enthusiastic devotion to youth, to education and humanity. No one, whose privilege it was to know him, is likely to forget the candor of his speech. What he believed, he believed with his heart and soul. He was our role model and he elevated the bar that we all aspired to obtain. Thank you, Uncle Bobby, for setting the example. We love you and we will miss you; but we know our guardian angel is looking down on us nudging us to do the right thing in life.
    Love, Larry and Pat Mitchell

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