Rev. Dr. Bennie R. Mitchell, Jr. of Savannah, Georgia, husband of Mrs. Betty Tompkins Mitchell, died Tuesday morning, February 1, 2011 at his home. He was born in Edgefield, South Carolina. He is the eldest son of Sis. Mattie Mitchell and the late Deacon Bennie R. Mitchell, Sr. He attended the Public Schools of South Carolina. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina, Master of Divinity Degree from Interdenominational Theological Center (Morehouse School of Religion,) Atlanta, Georgia, an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from the Mississippi Baptist Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi, and Honorary Doctor of Divinity, B. F. Lee Seminary, under the auspices of Edward Waters College, Jacksonville, Florida.
In 1971 he was called to pastor the Rockhill Baptist Church in Saluda, South Carolina. In 1974 he was called to pastor the Connor’s Temple Baptist Church where he was responsible for bringing this congregation to the forefront of community involvement in the Savannah area. Under his leadership many accomplishments were realized by the church including paying off the church’s mortgage in 1976 and a double mortgage burning of the future educational-cultural building (Old YMCA Building) and the parsonage in 1984. In addition, three lots with houses were purchased in 1992, and the McKelvey Powell Building (old West Broad Street Y.M.C.A) was fully restored and rehabilitated into a Family/Community Resource Center.
Dr. Mitchell served as Manager of New York City Housing Authority, taught school in the public schools of Georgia and South Carolina; member of Board of Directors, West Broad Street YMCA, Savannah, Georgia; Savannah Mayor’s Council Youth Program; Advisory Council Youth Program; Advisory to the Superintendent of Education, Savannah- Chatham County Board of Public Education; President of the Ministers Group of O.I.C; Past President of the Savannah Baptist Ministerial Union. Consumer Member, Georgia State Board of Chiropractic Examiners; Board Member, Savannah Technical College and Chairman of the Chatham- Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission MLK Corridor Advisory Committee; Past Director of Labor Relations of National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
He was recognized and frequently requested as a Revivalist and Speaker to many of the State and National Labor and Political Forums.
His affiliations included member of the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia; National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.; Congress of Christian Education of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.; American Baptist Churches of the South; Savannah Baptist Ministerial Union; Advisory Board, Georgia Department of Labor; Morehouse School of Religion, Board of Directors; President of Con-Ed Family Resource Center Advisory Board; United States Commission on Civil Rights, Advisory Committee, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Observance Day Association, Inc. for Martin Luther King, Jr. Festivities of Savannah; Chairman of State of Georgia Region 7 People Agenda; Lifetime member of NAACP, and a life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
He was the recipient of many awards. To name a few: The Ivan Allen, Jr. Award for Excellence in Human Relations, Governor’s Appointment as Lieutenant Colonel; Aide De Camp, Governors Staff; Outstanding Georgia Citizen; May 17th proclaimed as Bennie R. Mitchell, Jr. Day in Savannah; Omega Man of the Year. On February 6, 2001, the Citizens of Corpus Christi, Texas declared that day Rev. Bennie R. Mitchell, Jr. Day. He was honored by the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus in 2005; Pastor of the week –WSOK 1230 AM Radio and received the Fannie Lou Hamer Award in 2007.
To Rev. Mitchell’s ministerial credit are albums and CDs including: “Ye Must Be Born Again”, “I’ve Been Sick for a Long Time”, “Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand”, “ He Was The Talk of the Town,” “21st Century Christians, Stand Your Ground” along with the musical single entitled “There is a Bright Side Somewhere.”
Surviving are: a loving and devoted wife, Mrs. Betty Tompkins Mitchell; three children, Benita Andrews (Timothy,) Bendette McCaskill (Michael,) and Bennie Mitchell, III and three grandchildren, Mychal Mali, Ocoee Rose and Louis Linceo Mitchell McCaskill.
At press time, funeral arrangements were pending, and will be announced at a later date.