Obituary: Roderick Alexander Mitchell

Gentle, easygoing, up for a challenging

Sadly, Roderick Mitchell, 70, affectionately known as “Rod,” died December 19, 2020. His body already weakened from a 10-year battle with Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), his exposure to COVID-19 triggered a rapid decline.

Rod was born and brought up in the south west of England. A few years after graduating from university as an electrical engineer, he came to America for a short adventure. However, he found he loved the Southern California lifestyle, and became an American citizen.

He worked at a variety of aerospace companies, living in Long Beach, Santa Monica, Agoura Hills and lastly, Claremont.

As a program manager he was deeply committed to doing his very best for the troops and pilots who would be flying the aircraft he worked on. He was well respected in his field and known for being detailed, tenacious and generous in his mentoring of young engineers.

He loved to put his engineering ingenuity into the challenge of tackling home improvement projects, always ready to master a new skill with amazing results. He built garden walls, a fire pit, and changed a window into French doors. He also enjoyed music, playing the guitar and singing, and embraced Native American flute music.

He was a loving and generous husband to Vivien, his wife and best friend, also from the U.K., whom he met and married in California. They both enjoyed the outdoor life and spent many long weekends in their early years together, backpacking in the Sierra Nevada.

When unable to be backpacking, he loved the freedom of mountain biking. In Agoura Hills he made great use of Cheeseboro Park for his mountain biking passion and was thrilled to be able to continue in the Claremont Wilderness Park after moving to Claremont. He was also a concerned conservationist, with a soft spot for wolves.

He and Vivien traveled widely, enjoying diverse types of holidays, road trips in the U.S., cruises and vacations with family, and many international holidays. However, Christmas was always reserved for family, alternating between Canada, the U.K. and Spain.

“Rod made an impression on all who had the privilege to know him, a warm, generous and gentle soul,” his family shared. “He made friends easily with his infectious smile. His passing is a profound loss for all who knew him.”

He is lovingly remembered by his wife, Vivien; sisters Janet Cooper and Alison Schroeder; and  nieces Jodie, Rebecca, Anna and Rachel.

“We don’t have tomorrow, but we had yesterday.”

 —Diana Ross


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