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Mitchel Perrizo, Jr., 94

Dec 11, 2011

Mitchel Perrizo, Jr.

Delavan – Mitchel Perrizo, Jr., age 94, of Delavan, died Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011, at Parker Oaks Communities, Winnebago.

Mass of Christian burial was held Dec. 9, 2011, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, Easton. The Rev. John McKay, Rev. Tim Biren and Rev. Thomas Niehaus officiated. Burial was at Calvary Cemetery in Delavan.

Bruss-Heitner Funeral Home in Wells assisted with the arrangements.

Mitchel was born July 3, 1917, to Mitchel, Sr., and Vidella O. (Brouillard) Perrizo in Delavan. He was the fifth in a line of Mitchel Perrizos (Michel Pariseau) dating back to 18th century Quebec. He was a 1935 graduate of Delavan High School. He attended St. John’s University in Collegeville studying history and philosophy and graduating in 1939. He then attended the University of Minnesota Law School. As a law student, Mitchel became involved in civic affairs, debate and politics and what would soon become the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party. He was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1940, resigning in early 1942 to join the U.S. Navy. He was commissioned and underwent officers training at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was introduced to radar and television. Later in 1942 he was ordered to the battleship U.S.S. New Mexico where he was a radio officer for the duration of the War in the Pacific. He was in Tokyo Bay the day of the Japanese surrender,?Sept. 2, 1945. After the war he was a radio communications specialist covering Minnesota for the Great Lakes Naval Station. In 1953-54, Mitchel was campaign manager for Senator Hubert Humphrey when Humphrey was running for his second term. In 1955, Minnesota Governor Orville Freeman appointed him Commissioner of Aeronautics. He resigned the post in 1956 to join the presidential campaign of Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson in Chicago. After the presidential election, Mitchel was ordered to active duty by the Navy and moved to Washington, DC in early 1957. He served under Admiral Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations, and Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Command (CINCPAC) and commander of all U.S. forces in the Vietnam Theater from 1968 to 1972. During his service as a naval officer in Washington, DC, Mitchel fulfilled his boyhood dream of seeing the world. He accompanied delegations of university presidents and faculty, public officials, journalists and others to and from foreign ports including ports of hostile countries.

Mitchel retired from the Navy in 1972 with the rank of captain. From 1972-1975 he studied for a doctorate degree in international relations (the law of the sea) at American University in Washington, DC. In 1976, he returned to Ashwood Farm, the family farm in Delavan, where he lived alone for the rest of his life following the death of his mother that year. In his retirement he raised Norwegian fjord horses. At the time of his death he was engaged in restoring Mater Dolorosa Catholic Church, which he had transported to Ashwood Farm from Delavan in 2005 after the parish closed. Mitchel was a longtime member of Mater Dolorosa parish and later of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Easton. He will be remembered for his love of books and reading, his love for his nieces and nephews, family and friends, and his French-Canadian heritage, his love for the community of Delavan and his love for his country.

Mitchel is survived by many nieces and nephews and their families.