Earlier this year in the class on Luke, we collectively learned that death is a form of healing. This being the case, our friend Jerry Mitchell was healed on January 28th, 2015. In terms dear to us as Samaritans, it may be said that Jerry graduated to heaven on that day.
Jerry Mitchell, or Papa Jerry, as we knew him, taught in the Beaverton School District until his retirement. He was already retired when we met him. We came to know Jerry as the cornerstone of Good Samaritan Ministries (GSM), a ministry with a call to “teach nothing but the Kingdom of God,” a call which continues to this day at GSM in Beaverton.
While Jerry’s wife, Bettie Mitchell, is recognized as the founder of the Ministry, she is always quick to recognize that Jerry, by giving permission for Bettie to leave her teaching job to pursue the Ministry full time, was the one who released the calling into action. It was he who supported and accompanied her through the years as the Ministry grew to touch lives not only in Beaverton but also in some 32 countries throughout the world.
Jerry was a veteran of World War II and a member of what Tom Brokaw famously referred to as “The Greatest Generation.” Jerry was a great fan of the Portland Trailblazers and was always quick with a smile and a joke. He was honest and approachable and loved children. It may truly be said that he never lost touch with the child within himself.
His positive impact as a soldier, teacher, and Samaritan can be seen today on four continents, and we count ourselves blessed to have had our hearts warmed by knowing Papa Jerry towards the twilight of his wonderful life. The world is a better place because Papa Jerry lived.
Rest in peace Papa Jerry, and thank you for your many sacrifices this side of heaven. We look forward to the time when we will meet again on the other side.