Billie Carolyn Mitchell

Sunday 19th of October 1930 - Thursday 10th of November 2022

Billie Carolyn Mitchell


Billie Carolyn Mitchell died peacefully on Nov. 10, 2022, in Lexington, Ky. She had just turned 92.

Carolyn was born on Oct. 19, 1930. She was raised on an apple farm in Green Forest, Arkansas, by Faye and Blake McMahan, with her brother Keithher half-brothers Rex and Rue, and herhalf-sister Alice.

She met the love of her life, George Ernest Mitchell Jr.  a tall, handsome, quiet drink of water – at Green Forest High School. They had a mostly-on-and-sometimes-off courtship that involved scores of sweet letters exchanged between ColumbiaMissouri, where George went to collegeand Chillicothe, Missouri, where Carolyn got a business degreethen Russellville, where she attended Arkansas Tech and then St. Louis, where Carolyn took her first fulltime job. 

When George’s eventual service placement with the Air Force was up in the air, he knew he wanted her to go with him – wherever that might be – so he visited St. Louis and popped the question at a romantic spot overlooking the Mississippi River. They were married a few months later, on March 14, 1952.

So began a 70-1/2-year-long partnership between “Hun Bun,” Carolyn’s pet name for George, and his “Snickerdoodle.

Dad’s service and then graduate work took them first to Maine, then back to Columbia, where their first daughter, Leslie Dianewas born, then on to Champagne-Urbana, Illinois, where they had a second daughter, Karen Leigh.

When George was recruited by the University of Kentucky in 1960, they moved to Lexington, where they made their home for the next 62 years. The following year, they welcomed their third daughter, Cynthia Faye.

Carolyn and George were lifelong members of Southern Hills United Methodist Church, where Carolyn sang in the choir, was active in the Susannah Wesley Circle, and served for several years as a Girl Scout Troop LeaderShe was a fiercely loyalcaring and fun friend, though sadly she outlived all but a couple. 

Together with one of her best friends, Carolyn ran a thriving antique business for many years. Her knack for decorating with those antiques and for gardening prompted the Lexington Herald-Leader to feature 690 Hill-n-Dale at least three different times. 

But more importantly, Carolyn opened that home and her heart to scores of international graduate students whom George advised during his nearly 40 years at UK. Whether a pre-semester welcome barbecue or a lavish Thanksgiving dinner, she enjoyed introducing the students to American customs and Southern hospitality.

She wanted them to view 690 Hill-n-Dale as their “home away from home” – and they did. George’s former students in 17 different countries gladly returned the favor, opening their homes to welcome the family on their long trip back from George’s sabbatical in New Zealand in 1974-75.

Carolyn’s unwavering support and enthusiasm for her daughters empowered them to pursue their career dreams, to conquer life’s challenges, and to raise families of their own.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Faye and Blake, by her stepbrothers Rue and Rex, and her stepsister Alice Calitri. She issurvived by her brother, Keith, her husband, George, and her three daughters, Leslie Wilson, Karen Mitchell DeGrazia and Cynthia Mitchell. She is also “Gigi” to four grandchildren, Blake Wilson, Meagan Banks Metzger, Maxim Mitchell DeGrazia and Georgia Caroline Mallett, and to two great grandchildren, Meyer and Myla Metzger. She enjoyed visits from all of them in the weeks and months before she died.

Carolyn improved the lives of everyone whose path she crossed. Her zest for life is truly something to not only celebrate, but to emulate. 

A celebration of her life will be held Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. at Green Forest United Methodist Church in Green Forest, AR. 

In lieu of flowers, George asks that you make a donation to the church of your choice.


Guest Book

Dorothy Mitchell


It was with sorrow to hear of the passing of my sister in law and friend Carolyn. I have so many wonderful memories of many visits to their home and their visits to mine. Carolyn was a skilled bridge partner. When I needed advise about growing any plant, she was the one I called. When our family moved into an older house, built in the early 19 hundreds we had modern furniture and used her antique expertise and advise when looking for appropriate decorating items to purchase. I remember with fondness and gratitude going “antiquing “ with her and taking advantage of her collections sometimes items that had been purchased with my needs in mind. Carolyn even came to Michigan, and set up a booth at an antique exhibit near where I lived at the time. I will always remember her culinary skills. When we visited, she had a freezer full of meals she had prepared in advance. Her food was not only tasty but presented eloquently using antique dishes and silver on a beautiful antique table. I always went home with new recipes I could never make quite as good as she could. My sympathies extend especially to my brother George but also to my nieces and their extended families, some whom I have never met. Love to all of you. Dorothy

3 days ago

Bruce Langlois


George I was sad to read the passing of Carolyn. My prayers are with you and your family.

1 week ago

David L Harmon


George; It is with much sadness we saw this announcement. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time. I would very much like to stop and see you or take you to lunch if you have time in the future. Just drop me a note or call with the time and place. I very much appreciate all you did for me. Thanks and best wishes.

1 week ago