Lifelong Scarborough resident Clifford “Kippie” Mitchell passed away on Monday, March 21. He was 68 years old.
Mitchell was very active in the town, serving on the rescue squad and as a member of the Lions and Masons, and was the town electrician for many years.
“He just wanted to be part of the town and do stuff for the town,” said his son Don Mitchell. “He was dedicated to the town. Dedicated to his family. He was a very busy worker, no matter what it was.”
Mitchell was a 1954 graduate of Scarborough High School and married his wife, Nancy Nelson, in 1956. He started out as a farmer on Spurwink Road and in 1964 opened Mitchell Electric. Several years later he became Scarborough’s municipal electrician.
The town was much smaller than it is today and he was only responsible for three streetlights, at Oak Hill, Scarborough Downs and Dunstan. In addition to caring for the town’s ever-increasing number of streetlights, he also was responsible for the municipal fire alarm systems along with the town’s other electrical needs. He kept the job until earlier this year.
“As time went by more and more calls are at night and weekends, but he never said no, he always took them,” Don Mitchell said.
Mitchell also was very active in the Scarborough Fire Department. He joined the department in the mid-1950s as a member of the Pleasant Hill hose company, Engine 3. When he moved to Willowdale Road he joined Engine 7 at Oak Hill.
He eventually joined the Scarborough rescue squad and ran with them for more than 25 years. He was a life member of the department and last fall was awarded a 40-year gold electrician’s badge from the department for his years of dedicated service.
During the award ceremony Fire Chief Michael Thurlow recounted some unusual stories regarding Mitchell’s experiences on the department. One winter day many years ago when the fire department used horns to alert firefighters to emergency calls, the town experienced a freezing rainstorm that coated everything with a layer of ice. The fire horns at the North Scarborough station froze and could not work.
Mitchell climbed up a ladder, dragged himself across the roof using two screwdrivers as ice picks and climbed up the horn tower to thaw out the horns so they could be used to notify firefighters about a call, Thurlow said.
Mitchell also was a member of the Scarborough Masons and was a member of the Lions Club for 38 years. Longtime Scarborough Lions Club member Len Libby knew Mitchell since they were children and said he was always available to help the club with some activities.
“He did a lot of things for the town and the Lions Club,” Libby said.
Mitchell was in the process of completing his 30th year of perfect attendance at the Lions Club. Libby said during Christmas time Mitchell always assisted with installing the club’s lights using his bucket truck.
He also was instrumental with helping the Lions open their new hall on Route 114 by helping renovate the building’s kitchen and dining room.
“He was an ingenious guy as far as that was concerned,” Libby said. “He was very, very mechanical.”
Mitchell is survived by his wife, Nancy, two sons, Don Mitchell (now the town’s electrician) and his wife, Rosemary, and Robert Mitchell (a member of the school board), and his wife, Barbara; three grandchildren, Philip, Adam and Rebecca Mitchell, all of Scarborough, and a sister, Barbara Bombaci and husband, Vincent, of Southboro, Mass.
“He’ll be missed. He was a good member, a good Lion,” Libby said. “He did a lot for the town that people will never know,” Libby said.