Development & Alumni Relations Office 


Thomas Mitchell, BSc, PhD, FRSC (died 9 November 2019, aged 78)


Obituary provided by wife, Valerie


Tom was born in Cheshire in 1941 and moved to Belfast and then Downpatrick when his father was appointed County Planning Officer.  He went to Down High School, where he was Head Boy and then to Queen's to study Chemistry after winning an entrance scholarship. He graduated with first class honours in 1967. Tom stayed at Queen's to complete a PhD in Chemistry working with Professor Bernard Henbest and went on to become a senior lecturer before retiring in 1993 to Warwickshire.


He spent considerable time at the Australian National University in Canberra as part of a long running research collaboration with Professor Martin Bennett. He also spent 6 months teaching at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji after he left Queen's.


Tom was a keen sportsman and played rugby, squash, badminton and golf at various stages of his life. It was with great satisfaction that he attended Twickenham with his brother, Dr John Mitchell in 2018 to see Ireland beat England on St Patrick's Day to win the Grand Slam. But his real passion was cricket and he played for various staff sides in Queen's, Canberra and Coventry into his late fifties. It was no coincidence that he spent his sabbaticals in a country that took cricket seriously. He also loved sailing on Strangford Lough, walking in the Mourne Mountains, entertaining friends and research students from many countries, and travelling extensively particularly in North America, the Caribbean and Australasia.


He had a quiet Christian belief which he lived out in his everyday life. His desire to give something back to the community was reflected in his work on committees and on the local council in Warwickshire.


Tom was diagnosed with heart failure in June 2019 and died following surgery on 9 November. He will be greatly missed by his wife, his brother John and family and his many friends.


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