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Aubrey Mitchell, 1945.  He was then President of the South New Zealand Conference.

Photo courtesy of Bevan McCutcheon and Maureen Copland.

Mitchell, Aubrey Roland (1904–1997) and Thelma Pearl (King) (1913–2000)

By Lester Devine

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Originally trained as a secondary history teacher, a career long Adventist educator, Lester Devine, Ed.D., has taught at elementary, secondary and higher education levels and spent more than three decades in elected educational leadership positions in two divisions of the world Church, NAD (1969-1982) and SPD (1982-2005). He completed his forty years of denominational service with a term as director of the Ellen G. White/Adventist Research Centre at Avondale University College in Australia where his life-long hobby of learning and presenting on Adventist heritage issues became his vocation. 

First Published: January 29, 2020

Aubrey Roland Mitchell was born into a Seventh-day Adventist family on June 19, 1904, in Kempsey, New South Wales, Australia.1 He was initially employed in orchard, farming, and greengrocer work.2 He commenced his denominational service as a literature evangelist in the South New South Wales Conference between January and June, 1924.3 He was a junior worker at the Sydney Sanitarium and Hospital between June and December 1924.4 Mitchell was also baptized during that year.5 He commenced his training to be a nurse in January 1925 and graduated in 1927.6 Between April and August 1928 he worked at the Sanitarium Health Food Factory in Cooranbong, New South Wales, before taking up an appointment as a literature evangelist in South New Zealand until May 1929.7

From May 1929 until January 1936, Mitchell was engaged in evangelism in South New Zealand. During this time, he met and married Thelma Pearl King on March 14, 1933, in the Dunedin Seventh-day Adventist church.8 Thelma had been born June 27, 1913 in Invercargill, New Zealand.9 Five children were born to them, Donald Bruce, Thelma Ruth, Eleanor Maureen, Ronald David, and Lyn Winston.10

Between January 1936 and June 1942, Mitchell engaged in youth work in the North New Zealand Conference.11 He was ordained there in January 1940.12 Between June 1942 and December 1946, he worked in evangelism in the same conference. He was elected president of the South New Zealand Conference in December 1946, and remained in that role until January 1955. From February 1955 through May 1959, Mitchell was the home missions secretary for the Trans-Tasman Union Conference.13 He was called to the presidency of the North Queensland Conference from June 1959 through the end of 1962,14 and then filled the same position in the Bismarck-Solomons Union Mission based in Rabaul on the island of New Britain, New Guinea.15 During those years, Sonoma College and Atoifi Hospital were established.16

Aubrey and Thelma Mitchell retired in October 1970 after more than forty-three years of service.17 Aubrey Mitchell then spent the next ten years caring, as their volunteer pastor, for 140 isolated church members living in the North New South Wales Conference, Australia.18

Predeceased by two of his children, Donald Bruce and Thelma Ruth, but survived by his wife and remaining three children, Mitchell died on the August 28, 1997.19 Thelma Mitchell died on April 4, 2000.20

Sources

Aubrey Roland Mitchell Biographical Records. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives.

Aubrey Roland Mitchell Sustentation Records. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives.

Bartlett, S., J. R. Lee and E. House. “Aubrey Mitchell obituary.” South Pacific Record, October 4, 1997.

Bartlett, Selwyn and Gordon Oaklands. “Thelma Mitchell obituary.” Record [South Pacific Division], July 1, 2000.

“Brevities.” Australasian Record, March 18, 1963.

Harwood, Mrs. S. “Double Golden Wedding.” Australasian Record, June 4, 1983.

Mitchell, A. R. “Opening of Atoifi Adventist Hospital, Malaita.” Adventist Record, January 23, 1967.

Mitchell, A. R. “Session and Annual Meetings: Bismarck Solomons Union Mission.” Australasian Record, March 27, 1967.

Patching, S. L. “Mitchell-King marriage.” Australasian Record, April 24, 1933.

Notes

  1. Aubrey Roland Mitchell Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Mitchell, Aubrey Roland,” document: “Biographical Information Blank.”

  2. Ibid.

  3. Aubrey Roland Mitchell Sustentation Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Mitchell, Aubrey Roland,” document: “Weekly Rates.”

  4. Ibid.

  5. Aubrey Roland Mitchell Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Mitchell, Aubrey Roland,” document: “Biographical Information Blank.”

  6. Aubrey Roland Mitchell Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Mitchell, Aubrey Roland,” document: “Biographical Information Blank.”

  7. Aubrey Roland Mitchell Sustentation Records; South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives; Folder: “Mitchell, Aubrey Roland;” Document: “Weekly Rates.”

  8. S. L. Patching, “Mitchell-King marriage,” Australasian Record, April 24, 1933, 6.

  9. Aubrey Roland Mitchell Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Mitchell, Aubrey Roland,” document: “Biographical Information Blank.”

  10. Aubrey Roland Mitchell Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Mitchell, Aubrey Roland,” document: “Biographical Information Blank.”

  11. Aubrey Roland Mitchell Sustentation Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Mitchell, Aubrey Roland,” document: “Weekly Rates.”

  12. Ibid.

  13. Ibid.

  14. Ibid.

  15. Ibid; “Brevities,” Australasian Record, March 18, 1963, 16.

  16. A. R. Mitchell, “Opening of Atoifi Adventist Hospital, Malaita,” Adventist Record, January 23, 1967, 1; A. R. Mitchell, “Session and Annual Meetings: Bismarck Solomons Union Mission,” Australasian Record, March 27, 1967; See Sonoma Adventist College, Papua New Guinea, and Atoifi Adventist Hospital, Solomon Islands.

  17. Aubrey Roland Mitchell Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Mitchell, Aubrey Roland,” document: “Biographical Information Blank;” Mrs. S. Harwood, “Double Golden Wedding,” Australasian Record, June 4, 1983, 12.

  18. S. Bartlett, J. R. Lee and E. House, “Aubrey Mitchell obituary,” South Pacific Record, October 4, 1997, 14.

  19. Ibid.

  20. Selwyn Bartlett and Gordon Oaklands, “Thelma Mitchell obituary,” Record [South Pacific Division], July 1, 2000, 14.

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Devine, Lester. "Mitchell, Aubrey Roland (1904–1997) and Thelma Pearl (King) (1913–2000)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=F80D.

Devine, Lester. "Mitchell, Aubrey Roland (1904–1997) and Thelma Pearl (King) (1913–2000)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=F80D.

Devine, Lester (2020, January 29). Mitchell, Aubrey Roland (1904–1997) and Thelma Pearl (King) (1913–2000). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=F80D.