LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Dean Roger Mitchell was 'an angel on Earth'

Friday, June 7, 2013 | 3:20 p.m. CDT

Our community and beyond has lost a wonderful, compassionate man — Dr. Roger Mitchell, the former dean of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

Roger never boasted about himself, so to me and others, he was simply known as Roger.

I met Roger 13 years ago while volunteering at the Food Bank. I soon discovered that my dad had worked for Roger in the agronomy department at MU.

When Roger found out who my dad was, he was delighted. Whenever Roger would introduce me to someone, he would always tell people that he and my dad used to “work together.”

Those who never got to meet Roger missed knowing a true angel on Earth. Those who knew him know the sadness that is felt in our hearts that will remain.

Roger treated everyone he met with respect and grace. My 33-year-old son Chris, who has autism, got to feel that love from Roger, who always gave him big hugs.

Roger was always so excited to hear about whatever was going on in my children’s lives. When he found out that my son was riding at Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center in Columbia, Roger donated his 50-year-old riding saddle to them for Chris to ride on a big horse.

When Roger heard that another son of mine would be attending MU, he was very excited for him. Roger was there every step of the way, always willing and eager to write recommendation letters for him whenever asked to do so. And then, when my son graduated from MU, Roger was there, along with his wife, to see that success. He was just as proud as the rest of us.

He was a true gentleman with sweetness and kindness, loved by all. What a privilege and honor to have known this man.

Roger is on a very short “list” I have of the greatest men I’ve ever known, starting with my dad. Roger was an angel on Earth — now somewhere over the rainbow.

He is one of God’s angels in heaven … no doubt “working with” my dad, making so many others smile, just like he did here on Earth.

Rest in peace, Roger, you deserve it.

Nancy Atkinson lives in Columbia.

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