Sean Mitchell, actor, singer, Marine, software developer, and devoted husband and father of three, spent the last year of his life showing us all how to live. He died Sunday, August 23, 2020 at the age of 57.
Sean was born in 1962 in Chicago, IL to Bruce and Carol (McKanna) Mitchell. He attended primary and secondary school in London, England; served 4 years in the United States Marine Corps rising to the rank of Sergeant; and earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Stanford University. In 1991, he married Elizabeth Adeline Wilson. They raised three children: Grace, Grant, and August. He worked as a software developer at Microsoft through 1998, thereafter pursuing passions for acting, singing, and teaching. He was seen on numerous community theater stages in the Puget Sound area, giving memorable performances in How I Learned to Drive, many Shakespeare plays, Waiting for Godot, A Christmas Carol, and more. In recent years, he served as a volunteer teacher, taking computer science instruction to schools that would not otherwise have it.
Sean was an artist and a musician. Those who knew him will tell you of his gentle wit and generous soul. He was a man of many interests, who always seemed to know a little something about any topic, and who could strike up a conversation with just about anyone. He was an engaging and giving performer—recognized for his booming bass voice—and an appreciative audience member with an unmistakable laugh. He always sang, with the Stanford Fleet Street Singers, the Microsoft Baud Boys, in the St. Margaret’s church choir, or simply around the house, where he regularly broke into songs appropriate to the moment. Sean cut a graceful figure on skates and skis and on his own two feet when running, and he loved to hike through woods and up mountains. He was known for his unfailing kindness, endless patience, one-dimpled smile, and completing the New York Times Crossword Puzzle in ink. He cooked with creativity and the “ingrediente segreto” (love – from many readings of Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola).
Diagnosed with brain cancer (glioblastoma) in July 2019, Sean faced every treatment and every setback with optimism and resolve. He continued to do many of the things he loved, especially cooking, singing, hiking, and the daily crossword puzzle. In that last year, he traveled to see dear friends and family and to reconnect with places that were important to him. He and his wife and children took a long-anticipated European vacation in Ireland, and in his last month, when nobody could travel during the pandemic, a virtual trip to Amsterdam.
Though his brain tumor took Sean’s life too early, it never took away his exuberance and determination to live each day to its fullest. Sean was preceded in death by his father, Bruce. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, his three children, Grace, Grant and August, his mother, Carol, his sister, Jenny, his brother George and sister-in-law Regina, in-laws Joyce, David, and Cindy, many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and countless friends.
A celebration of Sean’s life will be announced at a later time. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to your local theater company.