Alex Mitchell has come to live with us at Caring House. We’re honored.
Alex was born in Butte, Montana, the second of four children of Andrew and Catina Drakakis Mitchell. Both of his parents were born in Greece and met for the first time when living in Butte. His father worked as section gang foreman in the Butte area for the Great Northern Railway — taking responsibility for the condition and safety of the tracks in the area.
Alex spoke Greek at home, first learning English when he went to Sacred Heart Catholic School. He switched to public school in fifth grade, graduating from Butte High School. He loved track, running and doing the broad jump and low hurdles — the relay was his favorite (he would be the first to run in his team).
During his Montana days, Alex loved to hunt and fish — to him it erased the cold. And cold it could be — the coldest he remembers being minus 56 degrees.
After graduating from high school, Alex went to work in the copper mines nearby. Alex left the mines in 1944, and joined the Navy where he was trained as a medical corpsman at Farragut Naval Hospital in Farragut, Idaho. He recalls having to learn in 18 weeks what those in nursing school learned in two years. He served for two years, often transporting injured soldiers to the hospital from the train depot at Sandpoint, Idaho.
After his discharge from the Navy, Alex drove his mother and grandmother to Southern California, where they joined Alex’s father — who had found work in a shipyard in the Los Angeles harbor. They settled in Lynwood.
Alex found work at Earle M. Jorgensen Steel Company, starting a 40-year career with the company. He started in the warehouse, became a lead worker, then foreman, then superintendent. The company then promoted him to run the operations at Baker Tube (a supplier of aluminum, copper and steel products).
Alex will always remember the Greek community celebrations of the Feast of the Epiphany. Attending the celebration at a restaurant in Long Beach he saw a beautiful girl, but didn’t speak with her. The following year, he saw her again. He learned her name was Evelyn Hatzopoulos. He told his sister Irene that he wanted to meet Evelyn, and Irene arranged for them to meet. They both loved to dance. They met at a Greek dance at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. They danced, they talked, with her father’s permission he took her to her home. They made a date for the very next day and went to Sam’s Seafood in Huntington Beach (Evelyn loved Crab Louie). On the way home, Alex told Evelyn “I’m going to marry you.” And he did.
Alex and Evelyn bought their home in Redondo Beach, California. They raised two children (Ann and Mike) and are blessed with four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Alex and Evelyn loved driving and spending the day in Palm Springs, at the Pala Casino, a favorite stop. In their later years, Alex helped Evelyn bake Greek pastries and make dinner for themselves. They had been married 62 years when Evelyn died earlier this year.
When you meet Alex you find a gentle, welcoming man with a winning smile and a kind word.
Alex loves to laugh. He’s interested in politics and the news, likes Western music, and enjoys “Blue Bloods,” “Chicago Fire,” “The Price is Right” and “Steve Harvey” on the TV.
We’re glad that Alex is with us at Caring House. We look forward to getting to know him and to caring for him.
Alex died on November 6, 2017. Honor him. Remember him.