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Former home builder George Mitchell dies

George Mitchell, once one of Pinellas County's top home builders and an amateur sports figure, has died at 77.

Mr. Mitchell, who sponsored softball and basketball teams to championship levels while constructing more than 100 homes a year from 1950 to 1970, died Monday (Jan. 26, 2004) at St. Anthony's Hospital after a stroke.

His George Mitchell Homes softball squad, which counted him as a pitcher, was virtually unbeatable in softball from 1957-67.

The team won 42 straight in the mid 1960s, thanks in part to Jimmy Mann, a boyhood chum who grew up to become a sports writer and direct local golf tournaments, and to Don Zimmer, the former New York Yankees coach now with the Devil Rays.

Mr. Mitchell's city-league basketball team included Zimmer, who once scored 61 points for Mitchell Homes.

Born in Elizabeth City, N.C., Mr. Mitchell came here from Greensboro, N.C., where he grew up and attended the University of North Carolina.

He served in the Navy in World War II.

A lifelong sports enthusiast, he was a fan of the Chicago Cubs baseball team and the North Carolina Tar Heels.

He was a past president of Lakewood Country Club, where he played golf and tennis.

Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Margie; two brothers, Michel and Johnny, both of Greensboro; a sister, Elaine Ellis, St. Petersburg; four daughters, Lori Holmes, Southwest Ranches, Micki Hall and Pam Jordan, both of Tallahassee, and Toni Hutchenson, Orlando; and 13 grandchildren.

There will be a gathering of friends from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Anderson-McQueen Funeral Homes & Cremation Tribute Center-Ninth Street Chapel, 2201 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N.

A memorial Mass will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church.

The family suggests memorial contributions to the American Heart Association, P.O. Box 21203, St. Petersburg, FL 33742.

_ Information from Times files was used in this obituary.