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Robert Dwight Mitchell, Jr. is a native Floridian born on August 17, 1933, at Orange Memorial Hospital, now known as Orlando Health Care of Orlando. He attended St. James School, Cherokee Junior High School, and graduated from Orlando High School in 1952. He has lived most of his life on Lake Jessamine. He and his wife Helen recently built a home on the original Shore Acres Nursery property. These are his roots and they run deep. Bob graduated from the University of Florida in 1956, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. Upon graduation, he entered the Army and, ironically enough, ran the Army post greenhouses. After fulfilling his duty in the service, he began to pursue a career in the foliage industry as had his father before him. After several years of working in the foliage industry in Apopka, Florida, he was pursued by the George J. Ball Company, one of the largest seed companies in the world, and went to work for them as a salesman. He covered three states and had many varied customers. After six and a half years "on the road", he decided to go into the bedding plant business. He and his father converted Shores Acres Nursery, then a foliage nursery owned and operated by his father since the 1920's, into a bedding plant nursery in 1967. This was the beginning of the Shore Acres Nursery as we know it today. Bob worked closely with Walt Disney World since before its opening, growing many experimental plants from seed gathered around the world. One of the biggest challenges was the many hundred eucalyptus trees he grew. These too were grown from seed collected from all over the world, and were planted throughout the park and remained until their removal several years ago. Over the years Bob accomplished many things for the industry, serving as President of the FNGA Action Chapter along the way, also receiving the Outstanding Young Farmers Award from the Orlando Jaycees Club. He helped initiate a trail ground on Shore Acres property with Pan American Seed Company, one of the largest floriculture breeders in the world. The purpose of these trials was to see how existing and new plant material would perform under Florida growing conditions. This program was in existence for many years, and was such a great success that Pan American Seed Company opened a facility of their own in Florida. Many of the seed used today stems from Pam Am trials at Shore Acres Nursery. Bob also served as chairman of the Bedding Plant Steering Committee, working together with other fine nurserymen. Bob also served for many years on the Governors Board of Indian Affairs in the state of Florida, carrying on a tradition his father started many years ago. Several years ago Bob's youngest daughter, Elizabeth Stevens, joined with her father to become sales manager for Shore Acres. Shortly after, her sister Robyn Bazemore, began working at Shore Acres on a then fledgling herb business. Both daughters have become an important and integral part of Shore Acres Nursery, and as anyone who knows them will tell you, "wear many hats" during the course of a day. Bob also has another daughter, Marcia Maloy, who has chosen not to be involved in the business, but will always help from time to time when called upon. How appropriate then that the Mitchell family as a whole, received an award for Outstanding Community Service from the Educational Programs of the Cooperative Extension Service of Orange County, Florida. Bob loved the outdoors, whether it be in a duck blind or in the wheat field of South Dakota. A true believer in God, he has always felt closest to him in the woods or on the water. Bob's daughters lovingly call him the 'old dinosaur', because he truly believes there is good to be found in every man and women, and a handshake can still seal a deal honestly! He is a man of his word, and if he promises something, you can be sure he will do everything humanly possible to see that it happens. Bob Mitchell is an outstanding nurseryman, a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. He is a first class individual, and we are all so fortunate to be a part of his life. He is survived by his Daughters; Robyn (Gene) Bazemore, Marcia (Rick) Maloy, Liz (Alex) Stevens, Grandchildren; Gene Bazemore Jr, Tiffany Cary, Ashley Penson, A.J. Stevens, Christina Stevens, Great Grand Children; Eugene Bazemore III, Oliver Bazemore, William Bazemore, Rynn Cary, Shelby Cary, Holden Penson, Dax Stevens, Sawyer Stevens.
Thursday, March 24, 2022
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