William Eric Marcus Mitchell
1897 - 1990
William Eric Marcus (Mark) Mitchell was born in 1897 in Northern Ireland and educated at Campbell College, Belfast, the University of London and St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London.
Mark Mitchell served in France with the Royal Irish Rifles during the First World War. He was injured and awarded the Military Cross. He returned to St. Bartholomew's for post-graduate training and became chief assistant to a surgical unit there.
In 1926 Mitchell immigrated to Canada arriving overland to Victoria where he became the chief of the department of surgery at Royal Jubilee Hospital and at the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital. From 1926 to 1939, he left his practice every few years to visit surgical clinics elsewhere, including Australia, the United States and Europe, to learn new techniques. During the Second World War, Mitchell served as lieutenant-colonel in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was officer-in-charge of the surgical division in military hospitals in England, Malta and Egypt, where he served two years in each. After the war, he returned to Victoria and resumed his practice. In 1956 he was the Listerian Memorial Orator for the Victoria Medical Society and in 1965 he was elected an Honorary Member of the Society because of his distinguished service to the Society and the community at large. Mitchell was a member of the Society for sixty-five years.
Mark Mitchell joined the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada and in 1946 attended the ACC Bugaboo Creek summer camp with his daughter Patricia, who graduated to active membership on Anniversary Peak. In 1948 he attended the Peyto Lake camp with Bill Lash and his son Mallory and daughter Sylvia; the Maligne Lake camp in 1950; the Mount Assiniboine camp in 1952; the Skoki Ski camp in 1954 with Ted Goodall and Noel Lax; and the Glacier Ski camp in 1955. It was at these camps where he first met Rex Gibson who was to become a close climbing friend. In 1953 Mitchell co-led a section trip to Big Interior Mountain with Gibson, where a young Syd Watts was beginning his mountaineering career. Mitchell was the Chairman of the Vancouver Island section from 1947 to 1953.
Mark Mitchell passed away on December 26, 1990, in Victoria. He was ninety-three years old. He was predeceased by his first wife, Catherine in 1953, and survived by his daughter Patricia and her family, and his second wife Margery. Doctor Peter Banks of Saanich said: "He was the first one to bring neurosurgical techniques to Victoria. Dr. Mitchell was a leader [and his] standards, ethically and professionally, were the very highest." In 1969 Mitchell wrote a book entitled: Health, Wealth and Happiness. It was a philosophy of life and a guide to living.
"MD brought neurosurgery to Victoria." Times Colonist. [Victoria, B.C.] (January 3, 1991) p. C1.
Victoria Medical Society archives. Letter to Dr. Mitchell from Dr. Paul Gareau, M.D.. November 5, 1965.
Victoria Medical Society archives. Letter to Dr. Mitchell from Michael A. Ross, FRCS, V.M.S. President. February 18, 1988.