Fri, 04/26/2024 - 12:11pm

Question of the Week

What are your memories of Jimmy Mitchell?


David Kirkland 

Sanford, North Carolina

One in a million and irreplaceable, we had many interesting conversations both canine and feline through the years. We both shared an interest in Persian and Exotic Shorthair cats, too. RIP, dear Jimmy. 


Cody Sickle

Oyster Bay Cove, New York

I've known Jimmy for 60 years, and I can say he was among the best people I have ever been blessed to know. When he worked with Richard, I spent hours talking to the two of them most weekends. Jimmy was good natured, fun to be around, willing to share his knowledge and opinions, had a terrific dry sense of humor and a quick smile.  

Jimmy also seemed to know everybody.

As we aged, Jimmy always retained his youthful aura. Not feeling well a year ago, at this time he still managed to be the same Jimmy I have always known.

In 2018, Jimmy and I were talking, and he brought up the subject of judging. I commented that I would like to judge Bulldogs at Westminster, but doubted that would ever happen because Bulldogs are the only breed I judge. The next statement is 100 percent true. Two days later, I was invited to judge Bulldogs at the 2019 Westminster Kennel Club. I saw Jimmy a few weeks later and simply said, "Thank you," with no explanation. He smiled.

Like thousands of people in our great sport, my life has been richer knowing Jimmy Mitchell. As my partner, Connie Chambers, said to me ... He was one of the good guys.


Pattie Proctor

Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts

I feel extremely lucky to have called Jimmy a friend. I learned much about the sport through his various careers. I worked beside him while being an assistant to Richard Bauer, he was a field-rep colleague, and when he returned to judging, I continued to watch him choose beautiful dogs. His wit, dry sense of humor, little quips and idiosyncrasies were charming. Jimmy was always a gentleman, and respected and cared deeply for his true friends. His life was dog shows and the people he would meet there. He will be sorely missed, but we all are better for having had Jimmy in our lives. 


Jimmy Mitchell and Michael Canalizo. Photo courtesy of Julie L. Mueller.


Michael Canalizo

Mill Neck, New York

What can be said about this special person who we were blessed to have walk among us? Jimmy touched so many people in so many ways … as evidenced by the amazing thoughts and memories shared when news of his passing came. As a close friend for almost 50 years, I can say with absolute certainty I have never once seen Jimmy irate, mad or ugly about anyone or anything. That’s unheard of in our world. Jimmy had a way to approach everything with his unique quirky manner, which he could do with a single answer and his endearing smile. He learned at the side of many of our greatest personalities and knew so much about dogs, past and present. And his advice was sought by many who knew enough to ask for it. 
He had so many friends who will never forget him. I know both Doug and Diane can now fully understand how much love Jimmy shared with them and all of us. 


Daryl Martin

Highland Park, Illinois

I remember it like it was yesterday: Jimmy told me at the Battle Creek Kennel Club in Marshall while we were both getting coffee that as a kid his teacher was Dr. V. Calveressi, who back in the day was a very famous Maltese breeder with the Villa Malta Kennel who actually judged the group at the Garden many years ago, and was also known for his famous teams. That trivia I doubt he shared with many people. I’ll never forget. Jimmy was a very kind soul.


Dominic Palleschi Carota 

AKC Vice Chairman of Board

A great dog man and a true gentleman! He will be sorely missed. 


Ann Yuhasz

Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Rep, judge, friend, cat fancier — imagine my surprise to find him at a cat show with his beautiful (of course) Persian cats! First as my rep and last as a friend — these qualities in all arenas: knowledgeable, friendly, kind, wonderful sense of humor. Loved watching him judge these last few years. He always got it right. Rest peacefully, Jimmy. You will be missed by so many.


Rodney Herner

Long Neck, Delaware

Just mention the name Jimmy Mitchell, and you will be sure to see smiles and hear favorable comments and admission of respect. In my more than 60 years of participation in the dog-show game, I have never known anyone who didn't like Jimmy.

I got to know Jimmy back in the 1960s, when he was closely associated with Richard Bauer and Annie Rogers. We often competed together in the Toy Manchester ring, a breed we both favored. When he became a judge, I respected his impartiality. He just judged the dogs, and, I might add, with a soft hand and kind demeanor.

When the AKC hired Jimmy as a field rep, I'm not sure they realized how quickly he would become one of the most popular reps. It was early in my judging career when I had my first interview with him. As all neophyte judges know, it is not unusual to experience some anxiety, not only while being watched by your rep during your judging, but also during the interview. The moment Jimmy sat down with you, he had a way of knowing how to put you at ease, thus melting away the built-up anxiety. This is a method that he used not only with long-term friends, but also with new. I will surely miss his smiling face and gentle nature.

If there is a disciple vacancy in Heaven, I'm sure that Jimmy will fill the position. Rest in peace, my friend.


Judi Johnson

Middleboro, Massachusetts

That impish smile, the twinkle in his eye, his infectious laugh, wonderfully dry sense of humor and ever-loving hug. It won’t be the same without you! WOW, will I miss you.


Desi Murphy

Monroe, New York

Going to dinner, he would always say, "We have limited seating!”


James Eden 

Woodbridge, Virginia

He observed my judging as a provisional and did my final interview before I became an approved judge. He was an all-around aficionado of all aspects of our sport! No nonsense accepted when it came to the rules, but still congenial and fun to talk to! I always learned something whenever we talked.

He appreciated brevity at times, so I will be brief. I liked him, respected him, and always appreciated his advice. Jimmy, you and your passion for our sport are missed, but will always be remembered!


Mary Anne Brocious

Milford, Michigan

When I was interviewing for new breeds, I would fly to whatever shows Jimmy would be at for my interview. He was always personable, professional and — most important — knowledgeable about any breed we would have to discuss. His personality and demeanor were one in million. You are missed, my Herding-breeds friend.


Denise Wilczewski

Wall, New Jersey

Jimmy Mitchell was the best! Simply a wonderful person. I am lucky to have had the privilege of knowing him for so many years. As a judge, as an AKC rep, just a great person to talk dogs and cats with! I’m so sad to hear of his passing.


Pat Cruz

Coram, New York

It was always a good day to have time to visit with Jimmy Mitchell. I remember him as a young man, showing his own dogs years ago; then, going on to become an AKC field rep — that’s what EFRs were called back in the day. He was always the same guy — easy to talk to and a smile for everyone. What you saw was what you got with Jimmy — he never changed. He was a sought-after judge in several countries, and I’ve heard from mutual friends in those countries who have expressed their sympathy at the loss of a dear friend. We shared several dinners over the years, some laughs and some silliness. We shared a love of our sport — he loved being a judge and being among old friends. I share this sad time with his partner, his sister and his many friends. I will miss him.


Gay Kuehnel

Trenton, New Jersey

I was deeply saddened when I learned of the loss of Jimmy Mitchell. I had no idea that he was in poor health, and was very much hoping to be on a judging panel with him in the near future. Jimmy was irreplaceable as an AKC rep. He always showed care and kindness during observations and discussions, and had a quality that made you feel at ease during these conversations. Kindness, warmth and an ability to make you feel appreciated were traits that made Jimmy so special, and I don't want to forget his subtle sense of humor. I miss him, and will for a long time. Rest well, Jimmy.


Bill Stebbins

Port St. Lucie, Florida

Like the other responders to this request from Dog News, we all have shared the opportunity and pleasure of making the acquaintance of Jimmy over a long period of time. If you were judging in New England, you were likely to have Jimmy as your executive field rep. His demeanor was calm and pleasant. He always seemed to have time to have a moment or two to talk to you. Oftentimes these brief talks included the latest glamour pictures of his show cats. His like doesn’t come down the pike all that often. When this does occur, it is we who are the beneficiaries. It’s been my pleasure, Jimmy.


Harry Bennett

Jax, Florida

One of my most memorable dog-show moments was with Jimmy Mitchell. In the then full Astro Hall Arena, Mr. Mitchell awarded my Toy Manchester the Group First over a very popular Toy Poodle, and what seemed like an entire audience of spectators unanimously gasped.
Loved the man.


David L. and Deborah L. Anthony 

Girard, Pennsylvania

Jimmy was by far the greatest AKC rep we had interaction with. Fair, with a great sense of humor. Years ago, I gave him a vintage dog-grooming knife and a copy of the article I wrote on the subject. He was very appreciative. We always looked forward to seeing him at the shows. We loved hearing about his cat and the cat shows. You will be missed, Jimmy. Thanks for many great years.


Charles Olvis and Liz Muthard

Wales, Florida

Limited seating, LOL.


Dr. Joyce Dandridge

Washington, D.C.

This is such sad news. Jimmy was always the professional in our dog world. I enjoyed our conversations about different dog breeds. He made it clear he was always available if I had questions or needed a suggestion for mentors in a breed.


Mari Carroll

Westport, Connecticut

Jimmy clearly loved our Pembroke breed. He would quietly attend the national and was usually ringside when possible. His knowledge was boundless and his wit a joy. I feel a great loss with his absence. 


Lydia Coleman Hutchinson

Middletown, Maryland

I knew Jimmy for many, many years. We were contemporaries when he was working with my dear friend Richard Bauer in Mahopac, New York. I imagine that most folks don't know that he got a Cairn from my parents. I appreciated Jimmy's dry wit, and he excelled at serving the dog-show community as a model AKC field rep and judge. Like everyone else who knew him, he is greatly missed by all.


Steven Herman

Wesley Chapel, Florida 

A sweet man. As much of a cat man as he was a dog man.


Jan Dykema

St. Helenas, California

I did not know Jimmy well, but I was thrilled when he placed my Bull Terrier, Don Vito, in the International Competition group at Santa Barbara several years ago. As we chatted afterward, he told some stories about his background in the breed and his admiration for them. He cut an elegant figure in the ring and was much beloved. He will be missed. He was a real “dog man.”


Polly Smith

St. Stephens Church, Virginia

My memory of Jimmy is his very dry wit. The love he had for finding great new dogs. If Bob or I were there, it was, come on, you have got to see this puppy or young class dog. Also always dinner with limited seating

Jay Phinizy

Acworth, New Hampshire

What a very sad day to hear of the passing one of the better dog people. Jimmy always had a kind word and a cheerful greeting when I would run into him at the shows. He was a perfect gentleman; the shows will be the lesser for his passing.

Vicki Jordan

The Villages, Florida

While judging many, many years ago, I wicketed a Dalmatian. The owner, of course, was not very happy, but Jimmy witnessed the measurement, and all was well. When we were talking about it later in the day, Jimmy looked at me, smiled and said, “Well, Vicki, you know the Dalmatian is not supposed to pull the carriage. It’s supposed to run next to it.” He gave me that cute smile, winked and turned around and left.

That’s one of my favorite moments with Jimmy, who was always there to help judges. He wanted us all to succeed. He will be sorely missed by many.


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