On October 27, 2008, Gene Mitcham, 76 passed away peacefully. A Native Phoenician, Gene was born in Phoenix where he resided his entire life. His education began at Creighton Elementary School, and continued with his attendance at North High School where he lettered four years in baseball, football, track and basketball. As an outstanding athlete, Gene was courted by numerous colleges across the nation but his heart remained committed to his first choice Arizona State University. To this date, Gene ranks in the Top Ten Best Athletes as a result of his career at ASU. Gene went on to play for the Fort Ord World Championship Team in the United States Army. Following his service, Gene returned to his beloved ASU where he successfully made All Boarder Conference and Honorable Mention for All American. The following year he was drafted and played wide receiver for the Ram’s 1957-1958, and was subsequently drafted as a receiver by Norm Van Brocklin with the Philadelphia Eagles. Following his football career, Gene returned to Phoenix where he was a successful home builder for fifty-one years. During those years, Gene was an active member of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Posse and served as its President in 1983. Throughout his remarkable career, Gene remained an active and devoted member of the Home Builders’ Association. Gene is survived by his beloved wife of fifty-one years, Mary Ann Cavanagh Mitcham and their children: Butch Mitcham, Beth Thompson, Doug Mitcham, Loretta Brown, Joseph Mitcham, Mimi Cohen and Tom Mitcham; seventeen grandchildren as well as his extended family of sons and daughters-in-law, and lifelong friends all of whom gave him much joy throughout his life. Gene Mitcham was a true Arizona pioneer in many ways, living the wild west dream. Mean Gene the Waterdog King was his nickname. Gene loved fishing and hunting! Although a competitive tennis player and avid golfer, Gene would pass on both at the drop of a hat to fish or hunt with “the boys”. His boat was forever ready, and Alaska salmon fishing and duck hunting in Canada as well as summers spent with his dear friend Dave Brown at Echo Canyon in Colorado, provided wonderful memories which he forever cherished. Viewing and visitation will take place at the Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home on Thursday, October 30, 2008 from 3:00-5:00 pm. Gene Mitcham’s family expresses a deep and heartfelt appreciation to those who provided care and support during the last months of Gene’s life, especially, Hospice of the Valley. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower Street, Phoenix, 85014. Arrangements entrusted to Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home.
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