Mitchell, Sr., Paul (2017)
“Paul has always been a hall of famer in my book, not only in baseball but also in life. His statistics at Waterville high school, Bates and UMaine speak for themselves. The Mitchell family has been extraordinary and Paul going in the hall of fame is just another example of their accomplishments.”
- Dennis Libbey
“We learned a lot playing sports growing up-how to compete, how to work as a team and how to conduct ourselves both on and off the field. Those lessons carried over into our everyday lives, helping us with problem solving, watching out for our neighbors and being contributing members of our communities. I had great coaches who instilled these lessons in us, and I’ll always be grateful for that.”
-Paul Mitchell, SR.
Paul J. Mitchell, Sr. was born in Massachusetts on January 20, 1926 to George and Mintaha “Mary” Mitchell. The family moved to Waterville when Paul was four years old.
He graduated from Waterville High School in 1944. While there, Paul was a three-sport athlete-playing football, basketball and baseball, and lettered in all three sports for three years of high school, and lettered all four years in baseball. He played baseball for Waterville High School under Coach Wally Donovan, playing the outfield. He was team captain for two years and won several awards during his high school career. In 1944, Paul was a member of the legendary WHS basketball team, which won the New England Schoolboy Basketball Championship. “We learned a lot playing sports growing up-how to compete, how to work as a team and how to conduct ourselves both on and off the field. Those lessons carried over into our everyday lives, helping us with problem solving, watching out for our neighbors and being contributing members of our communities. I had great coaches who instilled these lessons in us, and I’ll always be grateful for that.”
Paul enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was assigned to Bates College and subsequently the University of Iowa as a cadet in the Navy’s V-12 Flight Training Program during World War II. While at Bates he played both basketball and baseball. After a two-year tour, he received an honorable discharge, completed his college education at University of Maine where he also played baseball, covering second base, and was one of the top batters on the team. The University of Maine is home to the Paul Mitchell Batting Pavilion, named in his honor. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from University of Maine in 1949. Following that, Paul enrolled in graduate school at Columbia University in New York City and earned his degree of Master of Arts in 1950.
Paul married his high school sweetheart, the love of his life, Yvette Pooler, in 1949. The couple has four children, Paul Jr., Linda, Jeffrey and Bill, as well as 12 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. He began working for Liberty Mutual Life Insurance Co. in New York City and remained with the company there until being transferred to the home office in Boston in 1957. Two years later, Paul and Yvette moved their family back to Waterville, where he joined the insurance firm of J. B. Friel Co. In 1964, he purchased the agency and then merged it with the Hodgdon Agency and subsequently with the Goddard Agency. Paul successfully ran what is now known as GHM Insurance Agency from 1964 until 2000.
Paul is a former Democratic Alderman, served in Waterville City Government as chairman of the Board of Aldermen until 1962, when he resigned to become executive director of the Waterville Urban Renewal Authority. During his tenure with the Renewal Authority, from 1966 to 1978, Paul was a member of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials and was a member of two national committees. One of his proudest achievements was serving as chairman of the Waterville Housing Authority. “I only served briefly-long enough to get it started and develop its initial proposal we submitted to HUD. I was director of the renewal authority, because it made sense for me to deal with them on housing as well as urban renewal business. I believe the HUD program has been very successful for the city as it has generated Elm Towers and other decent, safe, sanitary housing for seniors and families.”
In 2006, Paul was recognized by the Maine House of Representatives for a lifetime of achievements including serving as the President of the Maine Insurance Agents Association, a member of the American Legion, Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree, and a Paul Harris Rotarian. Paul also served for over 25 years on the City of Waterville Planning Board and the Waterville Sewerage District. In 2016, Paul was named Citizen of the Year by the City of Waterville, and in 2017 a dugout was named after him at the Fran Purnell Wrigley Field in Waterville in honor of his lifetime love of baseball.
“Paul has always been a hall of famer in my book, not only in baseball but also in life. His statistics at Waterville high school, Bates and UMaine speak for themselves. The Mitchell family has been extraordinary and Paul going in the hall of fame is just another example of their accomplishments” said Dennis Libbey, a long-time friend of Paul's both in baseball and in business.
In 2004, at the age of 78, Paul was appointed to the University of Maine Board of Trustees by Governor John Baldacci. He served as a Trustee until 2014 serving on various committees. Paul loves to travel, read, spend time with his family, remains an avid sports fan, and enjoys coaching the Red Sox (and several other professional sports teams) from his armchair.
From Legacy Pages ~Morning Sentinel
1926 - 2018
WATERVILLE - Paul J. Mitchell, of Waterville, died peacefully on Feb. 11, 2018, after a brief illness. In 2006, he was named Citizen of the Year by the City of Waterville and in 2017 a dugout was named for him at the Purcell Wrigley Field in Waterville in honor of his lifetime love of baseball. He loved his sports teams, and spent hours watching games, pacing the room, and analyzing the decisions of the players and managers, particularly those of the Red Sox. It was with great joy that he attended Game 1 of the 2004 World Series and saw his Red Sox defeat St. Louis.