Royce Everett Mitchell – Obituary

by Lynn McMillen
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Royce Everett Mitchell, 76, of Huntsville, died Tuesday. He was a native of Central Heights, son of the late Claud and Ethel Mitchell, brother of the late Robert D. “Bobby” Mitchell and husband of Sue Standridge Mitchell.

An Auburn graduate, he worked in private industry and then became a NASA aeronautical engineer and eventual Senior Executive manager. He was noted for his leadership as manager of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor in returning the Space Shuttle to flight after the tragic “Challenger” accident, receiving the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, the Astronaut’s “Silver Snoopy” and other awards, and later receiving the Presidential Meritorious Executive award from President Clinton. He retired as a vice president of the Boeing Company on the International Space Station in Houston where he received the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award to industrial partners of NASA.

He and Sue traveled extensively, visiting every continent and enjoying numerous international trips with friends. He had a great love for designing and executing theatrical stage sets, working with several performing arts groups in Huntsville and Decatur since 1974. This work recently included animated lighting displays for the Huntsville Botanical Garden’s “Galaxy of Lights” annual Christmas extravaganza.

He is survived by his wife, Sue; son, Rhett; and daughter, Jennifer Mitchell, both of Huntsville; son, Mark (Laurie), of Atlanta; and daughter, Melissa Mitchell Patterson (Garth), of Highland Park, N.J.; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A memorial celebration of Royce’s life will be held at The Wesley Hall of Trinity United Methodist Church in Huntsville on Saturday, June 29, from 1-2:30 p.m.


Friends who may wish to honor his memory are requested to contribute to the Huntsville, Ala. Public Library or the Huntsville Botanical Garden.

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