Jon Gregory Mitchell
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Jon Gregory Mitchell
  • May 5, 1954 - October 23, 2017
  • Allen, Texas

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Jon Mitchell passed away peacefully at his home in Allen, TX on October 23, 2017 at the age of 63. Jon is proceeded in death by his parents Edythe and Harold Mitchell, his brother James Owen Mitchell, and his sister Sydney Ann Cohea; and he is survived by his brother Curtis Ellsworth living in Memphis, TN, who had been his primary care giver for 15 years.

Born Jon Gregory Mitchell on May 5, 1954 in Long Beach, CA to Edythe and Harold Mitchell, Jon earned a distinguished Eagle Scout rank from Boy Scouts of America in 1969, and graduated from Poway High School in 1972, before starting his academic career in computer science at Palomar College in California. Upon graduating from college in 1974, Jon became a missionary for the LDS church in Florida and Caribbean area. During his two years of missionary, Jon discovered his intense interest in music, performing arts, and entertainment while performing and organizing performing arts events across the southeastern United States, Puerto Rico, and Haiti. He was most struck by the poverty and socioeconomic inequality he witnessed in Haiti. In 1976 Jon continued his academic pursuit in computer science at Brigham Young University in Utah. After earning a B.S. in computer science from BYU in 1981, Jon moved back to San Diego, CA to work for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) as a highly accomplished senior software engineer, while enjoying high country hiking, scuba diving, music, and other adventures in California.

In 1986 at the height of the AIDS epidemic, Jon found a venue to pursue his lifelong passion in alternative arts for LGBT, and became one of the founding partners of the Diversionary Theater in San Diego, the first of its kind in California and the 3rd in the nation to produce high quality performing arts events for the LGBT community. By 1993, Jon gave up his high paying techy job at SAIC for the arts to become a full time executive director at Diversionary Theater until 1999. Along with many who are dedicated to this cause, Jon and Diversionary Theater have been telling the stories of the LGBT community for over 30 years with courage, compassion, and conviction.

Jon contracted PML (Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy) virus in 2003. Initially, Jon was not expected to survive this debilitating disease for very long after diagnosis, but he proved the medical community wrong. After two years of medical treatment and therapy in San Diego, CA, Jon moved to Plano, TX in 2006 to be closer to his family. PML disease partially paralyzed him, but it never paralyzed his spirit and strong will. He faced this challenge with great courage, resilience, optimism, and humor. Despite his own disability, he continued to care for and help those who are less fortunate. For eight years, he shared his beautiful home with a Mongolian American immigrant couple with no financial means and taught them English language and helped them assimilate to the American culture. In 2015, Jon volunteered to become the HOA president of his community and spent countless hours helping home owners and managing community properties. That same year, Jon started a Facebook PML Survivor support group where he provided counseling, support, inspiration, and comfort to many who are suffering from the same condition. Just nine days before his passing, Jon wrote a touching message to one of his PML support group friends to encourage her to carry on the fight against this deadly illness. In 2017, Jon generously financed the private school education of the child of one of his longtime friends.

All of Jon's medical equipment, special needs supply and appliances have been donated to one of his friends in his PML Support Group. Jon set an example for all of us around to live life with purpose, grace, dignity and determination. He is sorely missed by so many whose lives he touched. A memorial will be scheduled in San Diego at a future date. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Jon's life. A memorial fund will be set up for donations in Jon's name to The Courtney's Project, a charity organization that brings awareness to the PML disease and provides assistance and support to PML/HIV patients (http://www.the-courtney-project.org/give).