Pamela Lewis Mitchell, age 70, peacefully passed away on August 28, 2021 in her home with her beloved husband and devoted caretaker, Garry Mitchell, by her side, after a long battle with a neurodegenerative disease.
Pam was born to Margaret Elaine Tingey and Raymond Aaron Lewis on March 7, 1951, in Brigham City, Utah. With her brother Gary, she grew up jumping the irrigation ditches around the Brigham City Tabernacle on her way to and from the local theater to catch weekend matinees (a showing of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds inspiring memorably vigorous leaps, as she told it). She graduated from Box Elder High in 1969, taking great pride and joy in jump splits with the Rockettes drill team and her star turn as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. She completed a bachelor’s degree in secondary education at Brigham Young University, where she also met and married Craig Ronald Hickman of Idaho Falls, Idaho, in the Logan, Utah Latter-day Saint Temple in November 1972. Together they had four children, Jared Winston, Kimberly Michelle, Leigh Megan, and Whitney Ann (deceased), whom they raised in Sandy and Provo, Utah. Pam was not just an exemplary but an exuberant mother, who looked for every opportunity to help her children grow as unique individuals and to treat them to runs to the Rainbow Mart for Cokes or detours for lime glaciers. Pam absolutely brimmed with life, life that she selflessly channeled toward enriching the lives of others, beginning with her family.
Pam combined her parents’ passion for education and commitment to community service. She was hungry for knowledge and understanding, but she was even more keen to share all that she learned in ways that made a practical difference to those around her. She always asked herself the question posed by the Latter-day Saint hymn, “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?” Hence, not only did she pursue her lifelong fascination with ancient Egypt by taking university classes and accompanying archeological digs in the Middle East; she was the best-ever docent at the 1985 Rameses II exhibit at BYU and developed and taught a curriculum in ancient history at Timpview High School in the mid-1990s. She was a deeply civic-minded person who helped manage successful gubernatorial and mayoral campaigns in Utah in the 1980s, went back to school to earn a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Utah (2004), and eagerly volunteered at the 2002 Winter Olympics. All the while directing plays and performing demonstrations of pharaonic mummification rites at her children’s schools.
One of the main beneficiaries of Pam’s determination to do good in the world every day was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She faithfully served in about every capacity imaginable, including as ward and stake Relief Society and Young Women’s President. More importantly, she undertook the small acts of care in her community that often aren’t officially credited—an unassigned visit or call to someone in physical or emotional need, a plate of cookies or an unexpected thinking-of-you gift, a doorstep Christmas carol. From 1996-1999 Pam was called to help oversee missionary work in the São Paulo South Mission, where she provided profound care and guidance to hundreds of young people. There she became known for a Portuguese phrase that well captures her character: “dar um jeito,” which might translate as “make a way”—to go on and do good in any situation.
That is what Pam did over the last twenty years of her life. After divorce, she picked up stakes in 2003 and moved across the country to Belmont, Massachusetts. There she turned her education and experience, much of it as a volunteer, into a job as Director of External Affairs in the administration of Governor Mitt Romney. She was especially proud of Melanie’s Law, legislation that toughened the penalties for impaired driving. During this time, she was charmed by an Aussie gentleman named Garry Mitchell, whom she married in the Salt Lake City Latter-day Saint Temple in January 2007. She moved back to Salt Lake City, where she continued her life of service by taking a job with LDS Philanthropies and began her life with Garry, who became a true companion and solace. She and Garry traveled to Australia and all over North America before she began to decline as a result of her terminal neurological condition. Even as her illness deepened and she had reason to despair, her default remained cheerfulness; even when she couldn’t see you or verbally communicate much, the sound of a familiar voice typically brought an instant smile; the openness to the needs of the world around her that she cultivated over a lifetime was irrepressible.
Pamela Lewis Mitchell is survived by her husband, Garry Mitchell, of Salt Lake City, Utah; her children: Jared Hickman (and daughter-in-law Aimee Evans Hickman), of Baltimore, Maryland; Kimberly Hickman Kelly, of Los Angeles, California; and Leigh Hickman Moss (and son-in-law Jeremy Moss), of Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and her grandchildren: Leonidas Russell, Ezekiel Friend, and Sylvia Pearl Evans Hickman; Rafaela Susan Kelly; and Ingmar Lewis Moss.
A service will be held on Friday, September 10, 2021 at 11:00 AM at Larkin Mortuary 260 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah. A viewing will take place one hour prior to the service from 10:00-10:45 AM. Interment to follow at Salt Lake City Cemetery 4th Avenue and N Street, Salt Lake City, Utah.
The funeral service will be live streamed via Zoom and will be available to watch at the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89371016807
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I live across the hall from Pam and Garry. Pam was an inspiration to me. She went through so much, uncomplaining. And I have such admiration for your loyal care of her, Garry. She could not have a better caregiver. May the memories you shared enrich your life until you’re together again.
This is Don Crane, I can still hear in my mind you
calling me Elder Crane in your Australian ascent. I am so sorry for your loss, I know how hard these things can be. I’m sure you my not remember me, so many missionaries went through the mission and you ended your mission as President when I was at the mid point of my mission. I know you don’t realize the impact you had on my life but you really did have a real positive influence on me and my mission and consequently my life too. I haven’t kept informed about much concerning the Hong Kong Mission or a lot of the people. I have however heard from time to time from friends that you were here in Utah and had remarried and now that your dear wife has passed. Once again I am saddend to hear about her passing. I send you my support and pray for the lord to comfort you at this time and for blessings to come your way. I have kept in touch with a small group of men from the HongKong Mission. Chris Farrer, Todd Banner, Tim Transtrum, Kerry McCloud and Steve Gray. We still have a great relationship and get together from time to time. I hope and wish for he best for you and your family. May the coming days be filled with peace and joy. Once again thank you for your influence.
Sincerely, Don Crane
My feelings for her loss, She was an example to me, in my mission was like a mother. May the Lord comfort the whole family. Love you
Não servi com ela porém servi na mesma missão, ouvimuito sobre ela, amável demais, minhas sinceras condolências ! Certeza que era um anjo aqui na terra !
She was loved and admired by so many and will be dearly missed.
Dear President Michell,
Our sincere condolences!
We know that Sister Michell is now in the arms of Heavenly Father and be taken care of and loved by Him.
We hope that you will take good care of yourself and we will meet with you very soon in SLC.
Winnie and Bruce