Thomas Ed­ward Mitchell

May 15, 1943 - Novem­ber 30, 2018

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - BAY AREA -

Born in San Jose, Tom Mitchell moved to San Fran­cisco in the late 1950’s and was in the first grad­u­at­ing class from Her­bert Hoover Jr. High School. He went to Lin­coln H.S. after grad­u­at­ing from Drew School in 1962, then en­tered SF State for un­der­grad­u­ate stud­ies. Tom in­ter­rupted un­der­grad­u­ate stud­ies to ful­fill his mil­i­tary obli­ga­tion. He served in the US Army for a 3-year tour in Ger­many, learn­ing Ger­man in the process, hon­or­ably dis­charged as an (Act­ing) Sergeant (E5). Re­turn­ing to SFSU and trans­ferred to UC River­side where he grad­u­ated with Hon­ors in 1969. He next un­der­took grad­u­ate stud­ies at the Univer­sity of Wis­con­sin, Madi­son un­der a Rock­e­feller Schol­ar­ship dur­ing 1970 thru 1973, com­plet­ing course­work and ex­ams to­ward a PhD. While groomed for a re­search po­si­tion in late me­dieval scholas­tic thought in Ger­many, he de­cided against such a spe­cial­ized niche. Dur­ing that pe­riod he lec­tured in Western Civ­i­liza­tion at SFSU while he made the tran­si­tion back.

Tom ac­quired an in­ter­est in con­struc­tion and real es­tate dur­ing the 1970’s Vic­to­rian Re­vival in SF. He worked sum­mers in re­mod­el­ing, then stag­gered teach­ing dur­ing a se­mes­ter with help­ing friends’ con­struc­tion projects, un­til de­cid­ing to go full time into con­struc­tion and li­cen­sure as a Gen­eral Con­trac­tor. Mitchell Con­struc­tion never fast-tracked to­ward large-scale suc­cess but did at one time have 32 as­so­ci­ates work­ing on 7 projects con­cur­rently and over the years com­pleted com­mer­cial and award­win­ning projects.

In the 1980’s after a con­struc­tion hey­day, he down­sized his con­struc­tion ef­forts, ob­tained an RE bro­ker’s li­cense and started buy­ing and re­mod­el­ing for him­self. He ac­quired and de­vel­oped 15 res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties in the SF Bay Area in­clud­ing many Vic­to­ri­ans, although his later pref­er­ence was mid-cen­tury mod­ern struc­tures, and here he found his stride and pas­sion in real es­tate and con­struc­tion.

After the 1989 Loma Pri­eta earth­quake, RE in the Bay Area was dor­mant for the bet­ter part of two years which threw a wet blan­ket on all real es­tate ac­tiv­ity. With­out projects, he took his re­search back­ground into the world of in­spect­ing build­ings where he learned the busi­ness by as­so­ci­a­tion with lo­cal in­spec­tion ex­perts and his many friends and col­leagues at the Amer­i­can So­ci­ety of Home In­spec­tors, where he served as Pres­i­dent of the Bay Area Chap­ter GGASHI twice and earned In­spec­tor of the Year Award.

Tom was a life­long ath­lete, walk­ing weekly with his wife and of­ten many friends in the Pre­sidio, and was ac­tive in run­ning, ten­nis, squash, ski­ing, SCUBA and golf. He con­tin­ued to work out and swim three times a week at the down­town Olympic Club where he made many happy ac­quain­tances and en­joyed main­tain­ing his health and ath­leti­cism.

Tom trav­eled ex­ten­sively with Peili through­out Europe, South Amer­ica, South East Asia, Japan, and China.

Within the past num­ber of years he con­tin­ued his en­thu­si­asm pur­chas­ing and de­vel­op­ing mid-cen­tury res­i­dences in East Oak­land.

Tom is sur­vived by his wife, Peili Zhu, of 19 years, their two cats Tiger and Keya, sis­ter Linda, step­sis­ter Sharon Cough­lan, and step-brother Frank. He is pre­de­ceased by his fa­ther Chris in 1998 and mother Jean in 2010. Tom died of com­pli­ca­tions of in­op­er­a­ble throat can­cer.

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