Local Obituaries

C. Patric Mitchell taught at Wichita State, rescued dogs and adored family

C. Patric Mitchell and his wife, Jenny.
C. Patric Mitchell and his wife, Jenny. Courtesy of Wichita State University

C. Patric Mitchell was a doting husband, father and one of those guys who hardly let a day go by without posting a photo of a dog needing rescued.

And on Monday morning, when he kissed and told his wife goodbye, Jenny Mitchell had no clue it might be the last time.

"There were no signs. We said good morning just like any other day," she said. "There was no indication of him not feeling well."

Dr. Mitchell, a lecturer in Wichita State University's mathematics department, was found dead in his office late Monday. He had died of natural causes at age 52.

Services are pending.

He was born June 23, 1965, in Omaha. He spent the first 18 years of his life there before moving to Wichita, where he earned his bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees in mathematics at Wichita State University.

Dr. Mitchell met Jenny in 1997 through a mutual friend. At first glance, a romance might have seemed unlikely - he a mathematics instructor, she an actress.

"He proposed to me two weeks later, and we were married six weeks later," Jenny Mitchell said. "We knew. We just knew. We both wanted the same things. We found peace in each other. The things important to him were important to me, too."

He loved rescuing dogs.

"He always tried to find every dog a home," she said.

And for the past 10 years, he has been a math lecturer at WSU, teaching calculus, basic algebra, whatever was needed in the curriculum.

"Patric has been around here quite a while," said Tom Delillo, professor and chair at WSU's department of mathematics, statistics and physics. "We was a well-known fellow around here, and I am shocked. We are mathematicians. Instructors like Patric are conscientious. He was a good teacher and committed to the subject."

Jenny Mitchell said that three years ago she and her husband discovered that he was born with a bicuspid aortic valve, rather than a tricuspid. He had a heart valve replacement.

"It was really terrifying and scary, but he was amazing and pulled through," she said. "He had diabetes, but his numbers have been better than ever. There were just no indications that anything was wrong."

A student on Monday afternoon inquired about Dr. Mitchell after he didn't show up for class, according to The Sunflower, WSU's school newspaper. That inquiry led a receptionist to his office, where he was found.

On Tuesday morning, Jenny Mitchell posted on Facebook:

"Dear friends. I'm ok but I'm not ok. I lost my best friend ... thank you for you kind words and prayers."

Mr. Mitchell is survived by his wife, Jenny; children, Caleb of Chicago, Connor of Wichita, Ann (Andrew) Evert of Omaha; and three dogs and a cat.

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