Oct. 27, 1927 – Jan. 25, 2013

Donald E. Mitchell, a retired vocal music teacher who was employed by the Williamsville School District for many years, died Friday in his Town of Tonawanda home. He was 85.

Mr. Mitchell was born and raised in the Long Island village of Northport. During World War II, he served in the Army Signal Corps. He was a graduate of Fredonia State College, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1951 and a master’s degree in 1959.

He began his 37-year career as a vocal music teacher in Corning and went on to teach at Mill Middle and Dodge Elementary schools in the Williamsville School District until his retirement in 1988. He was a past president of the Williamsville Teachers Association.

Mr. Mitchell also was a former board member of the Western Zone of the New York State Retired Teachers Association. He was active in the Erie County Music Educators Association and directed choruses for its county festivals. He also directed choirs in the Congregational Church in Corning, Methodist Church in Akron and First Presbyterian Church of East Aurora. He sang in the choirs of Westminster Presbyterian Church and Kenmore Presbyterian Church. He sang with the Master Chorale. He also served as a deacon and elder in the Kenmore Presbyterian Church and was named its Man of the Year in 1996.

Mr. Mitchell was a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and served on its liaison committee and its board of directors for 15 years. He received the organization’s Key of Hope Award in 2000. He also was a volunteer reader for the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service for more than 20 years.

He is survived by his wife, the former Anita Schaeffner; a son, Todd; two daughters, Darcy Rouse and Trina; and a sister, Elizabeth LaManna.

A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Saturday in Kenmore Presbyterian Church, 2771 Delaware Ave., Kenmore.