BY DR. BARBARA J. MCLEAN-SMITH
ORLANDO – Many of us take life for granted and move through life any way we can, some with purpose and some without. Mother Susie Mitchell who will celebrate her 102nd birthday, if The Lord allows, come October 29, 2022, gives inspiration to us all. Mother Mitchell embraces her longevity and attributes it to her being “Happy to be Happy”. She is not only a stalwart to her six adult children, 62 grandchildren, 47 great grandchildren and 12 great-great grandchildren but to everyone who has occasion to be in her company. Her exemplary presence exudes strength, vigor, and magnetism. Her mind and spirit are dauntless. Her cheerful spirit is contagious. One can’t help but smile while talking to her.
While in her hometown of Leary, GA, Mother Mitchell, her father, Deacon Lee Poiter Lane and mother, Alberta Lane, and family, lived on a plantation owned by Mr. Will Smith. She remembers a man being lynched in “her front yard”. She sees herself as always having “favor of the Lord”. Her daughter, Minister Bertha Rackley, attested to the favor shown her, and says that “Mother once needed milk and instead of giving her the milk, the owner gave her the cow and everything since then has been the favor of The Lord on her life.”
Mother Mitchell attended school in Leary, GA. She recalls that “in addition to attending school, I worked alongside my parents, working in the cotton fields, plowing and shucking corn.”
As a young adult, Mother Mitchell married Leroy Henderson, Sr. and to this marriage, one son, Leroy Henderson, Jr. was born. At the behest, of the then Susie’s, father, Mother Mitchell relocated to Winter Garden, FL to reside with her aunt, her father’s sister. After a couple of years living in Winter Garden, Mother Mitchell relocated to Orlando, FL where she found employment in a local restaurant. She was soon able to bring her parents to reside with her. While working at the restaurant, she met and married Eddie B. Mitchell, Sr. To this union, five children were born: Olivia, Mary, Bertha, Eddie, Jr., and Charlotte. The children grew up living in the communities of Lake Mann, and Johnson Village in the Washington Shores area of Orlando.
Mother Susie Mitchell and her late husband, Eddie B. Mitchell, Sr. were married for 50 years; Mother Mitchell recalls these years as her “happiest”. She also states that each of her children brings her joy and makes her happy. She is strong in her faith and states that the “Most Important thing in life is to hold on to God’s unchanging hand.” She reads God’s WORD daily. When asked her favorite scripture, she replied “all of them but the Book of Genesis from the first word to the last word is one I read again and again.” Mother Mitchell “worshipped and brought her children up in Triumph The Kingdom of God In Christ Church”. She faithfully served and serves God and the church. She, sometimes, sang with and always supported gospel groups known as the “Spiritualettes”; “All Stars” and “Goldenaires”. She became known as “the Mother of The Group”. Mother Mitchell also plays the drums at church whenever she is invited to do so. She loves attending church and once served on the “Mother Board” at the New Jerusalem Church of God. Once her son, the now Bishop Eddie Mitchell, Jr. was licensed, appointed, and anointed to evangelize throughout Florida, Georgia and Alabama, Mother Mitchell realized, along with her family, that the travel required to go with her son, ushered her to attend EBON Temple for “Watchcare” under the pastorage of Bishop Thomas S. Lee, Jr., Bishop Eddie Mitchell, Jr.’s mentor. Mother Mitchell’s life has evolved in the life of the church. Presently, she is known as “Mother of the Church” at both EBON Temple and Truth Deliverance Center of Jesus founded by her son, Bishop Eddie Mitchell, Jr.
The “favor” that was referenced earlier is realized in the fact that in her 102-year journey, Mother Mitchell is a registered voter; she has never had surgery; she still has her tonsils and is a living testimony to the goodness of God. She dresses immaculately and wears hats and jewelry to match whatever she decides to wear. Mother Mitchell’s hobbies include Word Search Puzzles and completing Jigsaw puzzles up to 2000 pieces. Yes, she still completes word searches and jigsaw puzzles that are frame worthy.
Mother Mitchell has received Proclamations from Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, Mayor Buddy Dyer, City of Orlando, and most recently birthday wishes and a letter from the President of the United States, President Joseph R. Biden. She has received many gifts and tokens of love. In addition to her biological children, she enthusiastically speaks of her “God sons”, Samuel Ings, former City Commissioner of Orlando’s, District Six and Reginald B. McGill, City of Orlando’s Constituent Services Director. She proudly and happily speaks of her children and thanks God daily for being alive and that she can see all of her children doing well. Barring any cliches,
Mother Susie Mitchell is the epitome of womanhood and motherhood and serves as an example of what a profound life is and can be. Happy Birthday, Mother Susie Mitchell!!! May God’s Blessings Abound.