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Edson V. Mitchell '75, a loyal friend and supporter of Colby College, a member of the College's Board of Trustees and co-chair of the most successful capital campaign in Colby's history, was killed in an airplane crash on December 22.
Among the most influential executives in the world of international finance, Mitchell was head of global markets and global equities at Deutsche Bank AG, of Germany, and he was a full member of the company's nine-member board of managing directors. He had been named to take over the firm's investment banking operations next year upon the retirement of the company's chairman and executive officer.
Mitchell, who was 47, and pilot Stephen A. Bean, 58, were flying in a twin-engine Beechcraft from Portland to Rangeley, Maine, when the airplane crashed into the side of a mountain while on approach to the Rangeley airport. A resident of London most of the year, Mitchell was traveling to a vacation home in Rangeley for the holidays when the crash occurred.
"Mr. Mitchell's death leaves a gaping hole in the bank's management ranks," The New York Times reported on December 26. "Since joining the bank in 1995 as head of its global markets organization, he took it from an also-ran in trading bonds, securities and foreign currencies to a major and highly profitable player in those activities."
The tragedy also left a painful void at Colby, where Mitchell had served as a trustee since 1990. "In all the years I knew Edson, I never knew him to say 'no' to any request the College made," said former Colby president William R. Cotter at a memorial service in Lorimer Chapel on December 26.
"Only a mountain would have been capable of stopping Edson," said William Broeksmit, a colleague at Deutsche Bank, who spoke at the memorial service.
Mitchell was co-chair, with Larry Pugh '56, of The Campaign for Colby that raised $151 million and concluded at the end of 1999. He and his wife, Suzan, established the Mitchell Family Chair in Economics in 1991 and provided one of three naming gifts for the Anthony-Mitchell-Schupf residence halls, which opened in 1997. He established the Edson V. Mitchell Financial Aid Fund to assist Maine students and contributed time and resources to the College in countless other ways.
Last summer, at his 25th reunion, Mitchell received Colby's Distinguished Alumnus Award. Two of the Mitchells' five children, Erik '97 and Katie '00, are Colby graduates.
A native of Portland, Maine, Mitchell earned an M.B.A. degree at Dartmouth's Amos Tuck School. He was an overseer at Dartmouth at the time of his death. He was co-founder of the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, an environmental organization, and a major shareholder of two Maine-based companies, Keiser Industries and Phycogen. Before working for Deutsche Bank he was employed by Bank of America for two years before joining Merrill Lynch in 1980.
The Waterville Morning Sentinel published a story on-line on the Mitchell memorial service.
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