School mourns the death of David Mittell ’35

The School mourns the death of David Mittell, devoted Roxbury Latin son and Life Trustee, who died on May 28 at Newfield House in Plymouth. A member of the Class of 1935, he served on the Board since 1954 but loved RL since he entered it as an 11-year-old boy in 1929.“Dave Mittell offered long and faithful service to the School he loved,” Headmaster Kerry Brennan said. “Gifted with a vivid memory and abiding concern for our most sacred values, he was quick to acknowledge continuity with that which had gone before, or, even that there was some break with what the tradition had been. He epitomized the important role of the diligent fiduciary and reminded all of us that RL was in it for the long haul and that we had a responsibility both to generations that had gone before and those yet to come.”

At David’s retirement in 2008, Headmaster emeritus Tony Jarvis gave testimony to David’s qualities—qualities inextricably linked to his steadfast stewardship of the School:

David’s “glass-half-full optimism undergirded everything he has undertaken in life. His enthusiasm more than his athleticism earned him the captaincy of both hockey and tennis. He single-handedly persuaded Mr. Northrop, headmaster of then-penniless RL in the midst of the Great Depression, to provide the pipes and old track lumber so the boys could build a natural-ice hockey rink on the campus. He went on to play and coach hockey at Harvard.” He saw “every situation…in terms of its possibilities.” David’s fascination with history led to his chapter in RL’s 1995 history, Schola Illustris, in which he evokes life at the School in the 1930s (one of four institutional histories he wrote in the last 20 years of his life). “Dave’s…understanding of the School’s groundedness in history has always given him—as a trustee—an invaluable sense of continuity with the past, a perspective on the present, and a vision for the future.” David’s meticulous attention to detail and construction experience as a trustee to major institutions “made him indispensable when the School embarked on the building boom of the 1990s. He knew exactly how to go about things, and he insisted on excellence from start to finish.”