Dessie Jean Mitchell – Lieutenant (jg), United States Navy

Dessie Jean Mitchell, R.N.

Lieutenant Junior Grade, United States Navy
Written by Mike Mitchell, Jean’s son, 2008

Lieutenant (jg) Dessie Jean Mitchell, United States Navy, was born 13 February 1927 in Riverby Texas located in Fannin County north east of Dallas. She was the daughter of Ada Cassandra Forkum-Flood of Rough Point, Jackson County Tennessee and Thomas William Flood from Hunt County Texas. Siblings Sam Rayburn, Private Billy Junior, United States Army, Clyde, and Sisters Vera Young and Jewel Newton.

She attended Sam Raburn High School and then Austin College in Sherman Texas and graduated from the Wilson-Jones Hospital School of Nursing in Sherman Texas in 1947.  She interned at the Parkland Hospital and trained under the Cadet Nurses Corps.

She entered the Navy in December of 1948 as a Navy Nurse and served her first duty station Great Lakes Illinois Naval hospital. Her second tour was at the Balboa Hospital in San Diego California. She then served at the United States Naval Hospital (USNH) in Yokosuka Japan.

During her first overseas duty station in Japan she met and married her husband Joe Cephus Mitchell, USN, in 1952 when he hospitalized after acquiring hepatitis. They had a Civil service ceremony at the American Consulate on April 8th in Yokahama Japan and on Easter Sunday April 13th were wed “In the eyes of the Lord” at the base chapel in Yokosuka Japan.

After retirement, along with raising six children at multiple duty stations around the world she regularly practiced part time nursing with the American National Red Cross.

She opened and ran the Homestead Soup Kitchen through the first Presbyterian Church and when they grew too large to be accommodated there, she opened and ran an independent soup kitchen located in Florida City just south of Homestead.

Through the Homestead Women’s Club she attended the Homestead Rodeo for over 20 years selling chili and soda as their annual fund raiser.

Jean passed away at home at age 81 of a sudden heart attack on 7 January 2008. She survived her husband by 14 years. They had been married for 40 years.

She was survived by a son, Michael Joseph, and five daughters, Karen Elizabeth McLane, Cheryl Ann Mitchell, Patricia Ann Zarling, Sandra Dianne Mitchell, and Nannette Lynn Mitchell. Grandchildren include James Kevin & Ashley Marie McLane, Austin Joseph Zarling and Cody Arnette.

She was interred with her husband Captain Joe Cephus Mitchell with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 8, Corner of Eisenhower and Patton Drive).


  • LT(JG)   US NAVY
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 02/13/1927
  • DATE OF DEATH: 01/07/2008

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