By the family
Aug. 21, 2023: A Bronxville resident for almost a century, Jane Percy Mitchell, also known as Bo to many, left us in peace on August 15th, at her Bronxville home. She was 93, and predeceased by her husband of 62 years, James Stanley Mitchell.
Born in Lawrence Hospital in 1930, Jane graduated from Bronxville High School in 1948. She attended St. Lawrence University and the Institute of Interior Design before launching an eclectic career that included heading up the Women’s Department at Lord and Taylor, serving as an airline stewardess for TWA, working as an interior designer, and later, as a real estate broker at Bossard Real Estate in Bronxville for over ten years.
Jane was an unpretentious lover of all things Bronxville, and proudly self-identified as a “regular.” Although surrounded by Bronxville’s beauty growing up, Jane’s youth was not without its challenges. Her parents had two sons who both died of scarlet fever within weeks of one another at ages two and five. Her parents bravely had Bo two years later, and her sister June 13 months after that. But her parents were older and scarred by their earlier loss, so her young life wasn’t carefree.
Her experiences forged an acute sensitivity to those in need, as well as gratitude for the gifts of her happily-married life with Stan. Her empathy manifested in a lifelong commitment to philanthropy and volunteerism, and she was a generous patron of numerous charitable organizations. For years, she worked at The Closet of The Reformed Church, prepared food for the Midnight Run to New York City, cooked meals for the homeless in Yonkers, and visited the dying with Jansen Hospice – whose gentle benevolence she received during the final week of her life.
Jane was a natural athlete in her own right who excelled at field hockey and was the head cheerleader at Bronxville High School. Her life with Stan, an avid golfer, engendered her own passion for golf, and Winged Foot Golf Club became their mutual joy. One of her proudest moments was being the runner-up in the Women’s Club Championship in 1970. She also enjoyed playing in paddle tennis leagues at Winged Foot and in The Village.
When no longer able to physically compete in these sports, she became a fiercely devoted lover of bridge. She initiated a Duplicate Bridge group at Winged Foot and played the game four times a week at various places where she found kindred spirits, most recently at Sarah Neuman Center for Rehabilitation just ten days before she died.
Jane was an unabashed and spirited Democrat in a hometown that was once predominantly Republican, even organizing a protest against the Vietnam War down Pondfield Road to support a friend who had lost a son in the war. She devoured The New York Times daily and often called her kids and grandkids with instructions to read a favorite editorial. But even with her strong political convictions, she was pained by the divisiveness of our nation’s current discourse and yearned for a more respectful give-and-take.
Blessed with a cadre of cherished friends, Jane’s greatest gift was the wonderful family life she shared with Stan for over 60 years. Stan would often claim that he met Bo “just in time,” and they would credit each other with changing their lives the day they were married. Together, they made a life at 26 Summit Avenue and Winged Foot Golf Club, building the construction firm of J.S. Mitchell & Sons along the way, and creating an idyllic home for their three children: Jim, June and Mark. Later, Jane and Stan were thrilled to welcome four grandchildren – Jamie and Dillon Mitchell, and Blair and Tucker Ingraham. Jane was immensely proud of her grandchildren, their numerous accomplishments and excellence in sports.
After six decades of joy, Jane was distraught by Stan’s death in 2017. And as often happens when couples have been devoted for so long, physical frailties followed her emotional grief. But still, her optimistic disposition carried her through. With a brave inquisitiveness, she looked ahead to death as an adventure and an opportunity to be delivered in peace to the arms of her beloved Stan.
Jane’s memorial service was held at The Reformed Church in Bronxville on Thursday, August 24th, 2023 at 11am. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Jane P. Mitchell may be made to The Reformed Church Missionary Relief Fund which provides support to refugees living in the Westchester area.