David & Lynn Mitchell
2015 Distinguished Citizen Honorees

In Support of Pacific Skyline Council’s ScoutReach Program

David & Lynn Mitchell by fall treeProceeds from this event helped fund the Council’s 2015 ScoutReach Program which enables at-risk youth in low-income and culturally diverse areas on the Peninsula to participate in after school, weekend and summer Scouting activities. Click here to see a video about ScoutReach.

Click here to see photos and more about the award evening.

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David Mitchell Biography

David Mitchell Boy Scout photoDavid Mitchell recalls that even when he and his wife, Lynn, were young, “We knew that our love for each other and the world transcended our material desires.” They remember their first public service involvement together, while living in Pasadena in the early 1960s, to help defeat a state initiative petition that would have fostered housing discrimination.

David W. Mitchell, a California native, is a tax and estate attorney, and a dedicated community volunteer. He earned his AB degree at Stanford in 1957 and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1960. After a six-month stint in the military, he started his practice in Los Angeles at Kindel & Anderson, and then moved with his family to Palo Alto in 1965. Since 1993, he has worked for Hoge, Fenton, Jones, & Appel in San Jose, concentrating his practice on sophisticated estate planning, family business succession, and nonprofit law.

David joined Cub Scouts at age eight during World War II, Boy Scouts in 1947, and eventually Explorer Scouts, all in a San Gabriel, CA troop, in suburban Los Angeles. He became an Eagle Scout in 1951 and was also a member of Order of the Arrow. In 1952, he spent the summer as a junior staff member of Camp Cherry Valley, the Pasadena-San Gabriel Valley camp, on Catalina Island.

David Mitchell & grandson photoHis love for hiking and the outdoors and his care and concern for the environment spring both from his upbringing and from his Scouting experiences. Because of his participation in Scouting and becoming an Eagle Scout, he won an undergraduate scholarship at Stanford from the Dofflemyer Scholarship Fund, which is available only to Eagle Scouts from California.

David has always believed that he should devote himself to his family, and to engage in community service. He has helped, either as a board member or through pro bono legal services or active volunteering, in numerous community organizations. A Palo Alto Community Fund board member for 10 years, David served as president for two years and is still active today. He also volunteers for the Peninsula Open Space Trust, Rotary Club of San Jose, First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, and is a Senior Fellow in the American Leadership Forum. From 1983-85 he served as the Chair of the Board of United Way of Santa Clara County. For many years he was a board member of Community Foundation Silicon Valley, a predecessor to the present Silicon Valley Community Foundation. His most long-standing affiliation has been with Stanford, where he has been a fundraising volunteer for more than 50 years and a board member of the Friends of Music and the Stanford Historical Society. He has received awards for volunteer efforts from Stanford Associates on two occasions.

Lynn Mitchell Biography

Lynn Mitchell Girl ScoutBefore Carolyn “Lynn” Mitchell decides to become involved in a cause, she asks herself, “Does this speak to my heart?” If yes, then she believes her time and actions will be of value to the project and contribute to a joyful journey through life.

Her parents were role models for public service in her hometown of Greenwich, CT. While not financially wealthy, the family felt blessed, and Lynn grew up knowing that sharing is an important part of being happy. As a young girl, she was involved in the United Way and Girl Scouts, where she loved earning badges and going to Scout camp. She chuckles recalling a week of relentless rain on a canoe trip when most of the pup tents, including Lynn’s, were swamped. In the spirit of the adventure, the Girl Scouts all laughed.

Lynn received a Bachelor’s degree in Art from Connecticut College, a women-only college at that time. She then earned an MA in Teaching from Harvard, which allowed her to later teach art in junior high schools in Los Angeles. While at Harvard, she met David, her husband of 53 years.

She used her art in leading campfire groups, in organizing a school district-wide art event dubbed the “Art Thing Wing Ding,” and in her role as Director of Education at the First Congregational Church of Palo Alto. After earning an MA in Educational Counseling at San Jose State University, she taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and worked as a trainer and consultant at Raychem Corporation for ten years.

Lynn Mitchell visiting old folksHer varied interests led her to serving on the board and as president of The Mid-Peninsula YWCA, The Institute of Gender and Research at Stanford, and on the board of The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. She also sang with the Clef Hangers, a women’s chorus that provides 30 concerts annually in retirement and convalescent homes. In recent years, she has coordinated retreats for women from the First Congregational Church and served as chair of the Church’s nominating committee for the many boards and committees active at the church. She also helped with the Scout award dinners honoring friends and making Scoutreach possible.

Together David and Lynn embody a spirit of generosity and doing one’s best to make the world a better place. “We, as privileged people, are grateful and have much to give,” says David. “It may not be money at any particular moment; it may be a personal commitment to making a life in a way consistent with our values, or to do a small part in saving the earth, or to keep the same values going in our families for the future.” He says that he takes the most pride in preserving the strong set of values that his two daughters have in their lives. Lynn agrees, “Seeing our daughters living caring and productive lives, and our grandchildren sharing those values too, are satisfying markers of the lives David and I have shared.” Now grandparents of three, the Mitchells live in Palo Alto.