Alex Mitchell, Cambridge city clerk, dies of cancer

By  | August 12, 2013 | 8 Comments | Filed under: Keeping track of Cambridge Council 2010-2014

 this ran in the Waterloo Region Record…by Jeff Hicks



Alex Mitchell

Submistted photo

Alex Mitchell

CAMBRIDGE — Alex Mitchell loved the Leafs.

“We both did,” said Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig, who once worked the ticket window at Maple Leaf Gardens in his younger days. “That’s what melded us together.”

Mitchell, Cambridge’s city clerk since 2006 and Craig’s dear friend, died early on Monday. He was 47. The cancer the Galt boy was sure he could beat was too insidious. He checked into hospital last week. On Thursday afternoon, Mitchell sent out an email.

“I will be away from the office indefinitely,” he said.

On Monday night, his chair to Craig’s left at the top of the city council horseshoe was empty. A blue-and-white Toronto Maple Leafs jersey was draped over the back rest as council stood in silence in Mitchell’s memory.

Mitchell’s family — including his mother Andrea, a Cambridge public school board trustee, and father Tom, a retired principal — mourned.

His brother Mark is a well-known Galt chiropractor.

His daughter Michaela is in high school.

He loved them all, his shaken colleagues said on Monday. He also cared deeply for the city of Cambridge, leaving a cushy downtown Toronto job advising the premier on municipal affairs and housing in 2005 to settle back home for good.

Cambridge was where a divorced Mitchell found balance in life.

“He loved the community,” Craig said. “That came through in everything he believed.”

His death left his friends and co-workers stunned.

“It’s kind of a hard one to take,” veteran city Coun. Gary Price said.

“He took pride in his job and would bend over backwards to get you the information you wanted.”

Mitchell, who was busy preparing to bring Cambridge into the online voting age in time for the 2014 municipal election, was known for his easygoing nature and jokes.

His passion for the Leafs spilled over onto the video screens at council chambers earlier this year, as he posted a picture of Wendel Clark for all to see before one meeting.

His handling of the 2010 municipal election was challenged by two citizens in court. They claimed widespread problems and poor communication with the public. But a Hamilton judge ruled the election need not be redone.

Coun. Ben Tucci praised Mitchell for his handling of a difficult situation.

“He took the brunt,” Tucci said Monday night. “He held his head high and went on and did his job. I’ll always remember that.”

Mitchell’s rulings didn’t always please the mayor or councillors, but they say he always had their professional respect while earning their personal friendship, too.

“What a terrible thing,” Coun. Karl Kiefer said of Mitchell’s death in an email.

“He was always willing to help out whoever and whenever, at any time. He, of course, was a loyal Leaf fan, which I loved too. He was one of the ‘Good Guys’ and he will be missed.”


From the Cambridge Times.

City clerk, Alex Mitchell, loses battle to cancer

Cambridge Times

By Times Staff

Before a moment of silence at Monday’s council meeting, Mayor Doug Craig drew attention to a Maple Leafs jersey that was draped over the chair to his left, in memory of his right-hand man, and more importantly, a good friend.

Alex Mitchell, City of Cambridge clerk, died last weekend at age 46, following a battle with cancer.

Despite the fact that updates on Mitchell’s condition had foreshadowed his ineluctable passing, some people around council chambers expressed shock at the fact he was actually gone, lauding his upstanding tenure with the city, as well as his strong work ethic that included an open door policy and prompt response to inquiries concerning municipal matters.

Mitchell was born in Cambridge and attended Highland School, St. Andrews School and Southwood Secondary School. According to his obituary, he still holds some records in track and field (hurdles) and football (yards rushing).

He graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor’s degree in urban planning and geography.

Following an 11-year tenure as a clerk-administrator for Carrick Township and the municipality of South Bruce, Mitchell began his career with the city in 2004 as deputy clerk and director of public access and council services. He was appointed city clerk just two years later.

Craig remembered Mitchell as someone who maintained a good balance in life, from his professionalism in his work at city hall to his great love of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Alex had a fine reputation as a city clerk who was also well respected for his personable nature,” said Craig. “He was a great support to members of council when it came to procedure.”

According to Craig, even though Mitchell had been unwell for a number of months, city hall staff didn’t know how serious the situation was.

“We had no idea this was going to happen,” he said, adding his office has been “shell-shocked” by Mitchell’s passing.

City of Cambridge flags are at half-staff this week. There will also be a memorial service held by his family in the near future.

“It’s a big loss to the community,” said Craig. “He was a really warm, gentle, just great person to be around. I don’t know if I could sum it up any better than that.”

Mitchell leaves behind a long list of friends and relatives, including his daughter Michaela, his mother Andrea, father Tom and brother Mark.




8 Responses to Alex Mitchell, Cambridge city clerk, dies of cancer

  1. Debbie Duff Vitez August 13, 2013 at 2:28 am

    My sincere condolences to Mr.Michell’s family for their loss.

    ( and the humiliation heaped upon you, by our esteemed city hall for using this announcement to discuss the 2010 and getting their plug in for the upcoming 2014 election )
    Mr. Mitchell did take the brunt of it.. but it had nothing to do with Mr. Mitchell..He was simply doing the job they paid him to do.

    Linda Whetham August 13, 2013 at 9:25 am

    I had some really good talks with Alex in the past year, and I am so glad that happened for me, he explained a lot to me, your comments are right on as usual Deb……I feel so sad for what Alex had to put up with in the past years so he could earn a living for his Family….R.I.P. Alex Mitchell…

  3. Debbie Duff Vitez August 13, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Subject: Waterloo Region Record story – presented as “Today’s Feature” on your website
    Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2013 11:19:34 -0400


    You have presented our work as your own. Please remove it from your site immediately.

    Thank you.

    Lynn Haddrall


    Waterloo Region Record

  4. Debbie Duff Vitez August 13, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Hi Lynn
    Sorry, I never usually allow my name to appear and always give your site credit for the post..
    I am guessing here someone at city hall is upset.. and so they should be..
    I have been told, as long as I link back to the original writer I am not in violation of anything..
    Again.. I am sorry and I have corrected it.. I will not be removing it..
    If anything I will now promote it even harder.. That man deserved better from the people he worked with..
    All about the election???? give me a break.. oh and of course his shared love of hockey with the Mayor..

    Margaret Barr August 13, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Nothing matters now, except a good man has been taken from our midst by this terrible disease. May Alex rest in peace and his family find the earthly peace they will need to get through this extremely difficult time. Sincere sympathies and heart-felt condolences to Alex’s family and myriad of friends.

    TTTommy August 13, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    I shall remember Mr. MitchelI for two reasons. The 2010 election, and that he was one of our Southwood Sabres. He shall sleep well till the book is opened.

    Les August 14, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Alex was always a cordial, pleasant and helpful guy that loved a good laugh and wore a smile when he greated you. Everyone of us could follow his lead. He will be missed by a great many people and those that didn’t really get to know him have missed out. A very sad time and a huge emphasis on living life to the fullest you can. I can never get over how quickly we can disappear from this earth.

  8. Debbie Duff Vitez August 15, 2013 at 10:56 am

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