Jane Kerr Mitchell Passed Away on May 11, 2023

By the family

May 31, 2023: Jane Kerr Mitchell, a long-time Bronxville area resident, passed away peacefully, after a brief illness, on May 11, surrounded by family in her beloved village home. She was 96.

Born on September 21, 1926, in Yonkers, most of her nine-and-a-half decades were lived in the Village of Bronxville, a community she dearly loved and to which she gave years of her professional and personal talents, helping to make it a more attractive, hospitable, civic- and value-oriented place to live and raise families. During her 96 years, she made countless friends and numerous enduring relationships.

Jane Kerr was a 1944 graduate of Bronxville High School, described in the school yearbook as “five-foot-one of oomph,” and a “fine artist” -- apt lifetime descriptions of her small height and high levels of energy and enthusiasm, as well as of her special creative talents.  Two years after her graduation, while in a local Bronxville restaurant, she was introduced to a World War II decorated fighter-pilot veteran, Philip Crawford Mitchell.  They were married in January 1947. 

While raising their three children, Jane Mitchell was an active community volunteer, serving as president of the Reformed Church Nursery School, a position held by three generations of her family.  She was a dedicated member of the Junior League, was chairman of their Penny Pincher shop, where she worked frequently, and was a weekly volunteer at Lawrence Hospital. 

A descendant of colonial era families, she enjoyed doing genealogical research and historical activities, and was a member of the Mayflower Society, Colonial Dames, and the DAR.  She was an early member of the Bronxville Historical Conservancy, and served on the 1998 Bronxville Centennial Committee, where she was in charge of the design and production of more than a dozen clever mementos that became collectors’ items for many villagers.

One of her great joys in life was creating a lovely living environment, both indoor and outdoor, and the results of her talents and hard work were evident in all of her endeavors. Although she never gave up community volunteerism, once her children were grown, she followed her passion and enrolled in the New York School of Interior Design, earning a degree that led to the founding of her company, Jane K. Mitchell Interior Design, an enterprise that allowed her to utilize her artistic skills and that reflected her innate elegance and impeccable good taste.  At a time when many New Yorkers took pride in identifying their homes and decorative styles by a particular designer’s name and imprint, Jane Mitchell hoped for the opposite.  Her goal was to reflect her clients’ interests and personalities, making a great effort to listen carefully and incorporate their identities and ideas as much as possible in creating a home environment that was “theirs.” 

She also volunteered her design skills for local public buildings, such as churches and the library, and on a number of occasions she had the pleasure of working alongside her husband on the interior design of large hospital and church projects contracted by his architectural and construction firm in New York City. One of their most notable joint projects was the restoration of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.  

Although the couple combined their professional talents on occasion, more routinely they were together enjoying golf, their Stratton Mountain home, gourmet food, and travel, especially to Paris, their favorite destination. For many years, any acquaintance going to Paris knew to check with the Mitchells beforehand to learn about the best small hotel and restaurants, new art exhibit, or a special boutique. After becoming a widow in 1998, she continued these activities with the expanding generations of her family. Her 40th, and last trip to Paris, was at age 92, in 2018.

Bountiful energy was a lifetime trait of Jane Mitchell, and even when sitting, she was never idle.  When alone, she tried to read two books a week, but more well-known of her “idle” activities was her creative needle point work. Much to their delight, friends and acquaintances often discovered that her handiwork stitched during their conversations became a footstool- or pillow-cover gift, color-coordinated for one of their rooms.

Although always family-focused in her efforts and the dedication of her time, during the last 25 years of her life, grandmother “Mimi” made sure that her home was “family central” for four Mitchell generations – and they came. To the end, as recently as Easter, she cooked elegant holiday meals for the entire family, and she planned ahead each year for all the cousins, aunts, and uncles to have a reunion with her at some special summer vacation spot. But no place was as special for gathering as Mimi’s house, a sentiment best expressed by her grandson Chris:

As far back as I can remember her home has always seemed to me so elegant and sophisticated with an ease that always felt inviting.  It was welcoming toward children, with the small chairs and stools, the collections of tiny stuffed animals, a doll house worthy of a museum, and the upstairs eaves filled with pillows and bedding perfect for playing.  In that way, her house was a reflection of Jane, with the grace and warmth that drew people to her.  Her strong desire that we all continue getting together really speaks to how passionately she felt about family and maintaining those strong bonds. Time with her family was so important. Yet each of us had our own unique relationship with her.  Four generations would convene for reunions and enjoy each others’ company, but each one was there because of her….We will carry her with us always.   

….As will many others in our community who were fortunate to have known her.

Preceding Jane Mitchell in death were her husband, Philip Crawford Mitchell; her parents, Edward Arthur Nichols Kerr and Doris Clinchy Kerr; her son, Steven Crawford Mitchell; and her sister Carroll Kerr Kevis.

She is survived by her daughter, Nan Mitchell Harman (Reed) of Palos Verdes, CA; son Peter Crawford Mitchell of Westwood, MA; grandsons Hayden Kerr Harman of New York City: Spencer Reed Harman (Karen) of Greenwich, CT; Christopher Hall Mitchell (Anna) of Walpole, MA; and granddaughter Meghan Mitchell Allen (Bill) of Bronxville, NY, as well as six great- grandchildren: Taite and Fraser Harman, Thomas and Amelia Mitchell, and Charlie and Jane Allen.  She is also survived by nephews Clyde Kevis of Fairfield, CT and Robin Kevis of Little Washington, VA, and niece Melinda Kevis Helmreich of Kansas City, MO. 

Donations in memory of Jane K. Mitchell can be made to Jansen Hospice, 670 White Plains Road, Scarsdale, New York 10583, or through www.jansenhospice.org.




Sign Up For Our Newsletter

MyhometownBroxnville reserves the right to monitor and remove all comments. For more information on Posting Rules, please review our Rules and Terms of Use, both of which govern the use and access of this site. Thank you.

The information presented here is for informational purposes only. While every effort has been made to present accurate information, myhometownBronxville, LLC, does not in any way accept responsibility for the accuracy of or consequences from the use of this information herein. We urge all users to independently confirm any information provided herein and consult with an appropriate professional concerning any material issue of fact or law. The views and opinions expressed by the writers, event organizers and advertisers do not necessarily represent those of myhometownBronxville, LLC, its officers, staff or contributors. The use of this website is governed by the Terms of Use . No portion of this publication may be reproduced or redistributed, either in whole or part, without the express written consent of the publisher.

Copyright © 2009 myhometownbronxville.com, All rights reserved.