Steve’s prescription for a marvelous life (to be taken PRN): love deeply, cherish friendships, don’t always play by the rules, be bold – take risks, give more than you receive, and most importantly, always have a Z-Pak on hand!
Steve “Squeak” Mitchell passed away on March 22, 2021 at the age of 69 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. Steve was born to Dr. Duane E. and Joyce G. (Adams) Mitchell on March 9, 1952 in Denver, CO.
Growing up, Steve attended the Mount Ayr Community Schools. One of his favorite pastimes as an adult was recounting fond school memories such as: who he sat next to in the second grade, who won the seventh-grade relay race during the track and field meet, who completed the most amazing pass during a high school football game and favorite songs played by the band he was in, the Rajas, with band members Bob Young, Mike Carr, Neil Rinehart and Steve Duros. After graduating from his illustrious secondary education in 1970, Steve went on to attend Drake University in Des Moines, IA. Steve quickly realized his passion for healthcare, majored in Pharmacy and received a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy in 1975. During his Drake career, Steve played football, was active in Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and, most importantly, met the love of his life, Cynthia Kulowski during a college spring break trip to Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
Steve and Cindy were married on August 9, 1975 in Harwinton, CT. After an idyllic honeymoon at the Mt. Airy Lodge in the Poconos Mountains, Steve and Cindy settled in Winterset, IA where Steve began his pharmacy career at Montross Pharmacy. Soon after, Steve was harkened back to his childhood home of Mount Ayr and had the opportunity to purchase McNeilly Drug. After an unfortunate fire, the building was then rebuilt as Mitchell Drug. It took a while for the older ladies in town to accept that “Little Stevie” would be filling their prescriptions and advising them on healthcare matters, but Steve quickly established himself as a trustworthy pharmacist in the community. Steve didn’t just play the part of a small-town pharmacist; he lived and breathed the role. He knew that people weren’t only ill during the hours between 9-5 and without hesitation he would open his doors day or night to help those who depended on him for their medications. Steve understood the importance of dedication to his community and worked tirelessly not only in his pharmacy profession, but as an entrepreneur. He first expanded Mitchell Drug to a second location in Clearfield, IA and then established Mount Ayr businesses to include Mitchell Jewelry and Forget-Me-Not Flowers and Gifts. After a long career as an independent pharmacist, Steve continued his work at Pamida, Shopko and Hy-Vee as the pharmacy manager, culminating his vocation with 45 years of service before retiring at the age of 67. His commitment to the residents of Mount Ayr and the outlying communities will be remembered by those he served for years to come.
During the span of his professional career, Steve played an active part in his home town, proudly serving as a member of the Mount Ayr City Council, Optimist Club, the Mount Ayr Chamber of Commerce and was President of Mount Ayr Community Improvement Club. Steve was an avid sports fan and the four seasons dictated how he spent his free time. In the summer, he looked forward to cheering on his #1 favorite baseball team, The Dodgers, and he went to many Royals baseball games with Lefty Geist, Ted Smith, Jack Garrity and many other close friends. A true high spot in Steve’s life of sports was being able to attend the 1985 World Series, Kansas City Royals vs. St. Louis Cardinals. Fall was dedicated to the Green Bay Packers. Some of his most unforgettable trips were made to Lambeau Field with son, Mike, brothers-in-law, Chris and Kerry Kulowski, and dear friend, Roger Kerndt. Lest we not forget, Steve was always a loyal Rams fan. Winter was for cheering on KU basketball and spring was for teeing up the golf ball.
Some of Steve’s other favorite pastimes included traveling, water skiing at the lake, planning class reunions with his cherished classmates of 1970, looking forward to the annual Lefty’s Pitchers Pool party, celebrating and emceeing Ayr Days activities, helping create the scariest haunted houses at Halloween, hosting Christmas Eve parties at his drugstore and decorating his house for the holiday. Besides his business, community involvement and favorite pastimes, the most beloved and time-consuming part of his life was his family.
Steve and Cindy were blessed with three children: Brooke Leigh in 1979, Kary Dawn in 1981 and Michael Stephen in 1985. Life growing up in the Mitchell household was full of witty conversation, hilarious banter and the installation of hard work and generosity, sometimes peppered with tough life lessons with the infamous fraternity paddle.
Left to cherish Steve’s memory is his beloved wife, Cindy, of 46 years, his children, Brooke (Casey Kempter) Marshall of Kansas City, MO; Kary (Adam) Wilson of Camas, WA; Mike (Katie) Mitchell of Merriam, KS; mother, Joy Mitchell of Mount Ayr and sister, Cherri (Verd) Bailey of Estes Park, CO. Six grandchildren: Evan and Scotty Marshall, Wren, Olive and Poppy Wilson and Cooper Mitchell; mother-in-law, Patricia Kulowski, (who always referred to him as “Stevie Wonderful”) of Torrington, CT; brothers-in-law, John Kulowski, Chris (Cindy) Kulowski, Kerry Kulowski, and sister-in-law, Kelly (Chris) Dotson; nephews, Chad Hunt, Neil Hunt, Ryan Hunt, Brad Bailey, Jason Kulowski, Jacob Dotson and Johnny Dotson; nieces Rebecca Bailey, Emma Kulowski, Sophie Kulowski and Carly Dotson; and numerous cousins and dear friends.
Steve was preceded in death by his father, Duane Mitchell, and his father-in-law, John Kulowski.
Memorials are requested to EveryStep Hospice and Judge Lewis Park. Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr is in charge of the arrangements.
Time of Sharing was at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 26, 2021 at the First Christian Church in Mount Ayr, IA.
Led by Rev Terry Roberts.
Special songs were “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” by Judy Garland, “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross and “See You Later Alligator” by Bill Haley and the Comets.
Honorary pallbearers were Roger Kerndt, Jack Garrity, Dick Elliott, Ted Smith, Keith Welling, Crae Geist, Bill Breckenridge and Tom Swanson.
God rest your soul steve