Michael M. Mitchel: philanthropist, businessman, and leader in healthcare

Michael M. Mitchel image
Michael M. Mitchel

Michael M. Mitchel, former JUF-JF Board member and Vice President, passed away Jan. 21. Mitchel served on the JUF Board of Directors from 1979-88.  Actively engaged in JUF’s Annual Campaign, he achieved the status of Golden Giver, for his 50 or more consecutive years of supporting JUF.  

“He was deeply committed to the Jewish community,” said JUF Chairman David T. Brown. “Mike was a leader who cared passionately about our Chicago Jewish community and will be missed.”

As chair of JUF’s Social Welfare Committee, he spearheaded the creation of Project EZRA to help those living at or below the poverty line.  Mitchel also chaired JUF’s Government Affairs Committee, and served on the Board’s Executive Committee, as well as Federation’s Finance and Medical Care committees.  

Mitchel was profoundly dedicated to the issue of healthcare. He was a sought-after speaker on healthcare, and even served on the Senate’s Select Panel on Health Cost Containment in from 1983-84.

He was a former Chairman, and Life Member, of Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center Board of Directors, and past president of the Medical Center itself. And he was the first non-hospital executive to serve as Chair of the Illinois Hospital and Health System Association, which named him their Trustee of the Year in 1983. 

Mitchel served as Vice President of Council for Jewish Elderly, now CJE SeniorLife, where he chaired the campaign to build the Marcella & Jacob Lieberman Long-Term Care Residence. He was a member of JUF’s Fund for Innovation in Health, and was an Emeritus Trustee of the Michael Reese Health Trust.

Mitchel earned his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in 1951 and— just two years later— his JD degree at the same institution. He was the owner of Economy Folding Box Corp, which manufactured cartons, and served as co-chairman of JUF’s Paper and Paper Packaging Division. Mitchel, a member of the Standard and Birchwood Clubs, also was chairman of ELTSAM Corp, an investment firm.

Mitchel is survived by Carol (nee Bailey), his wife 59 years, and his children— Marci (Scott) Levenfeld, Steve (Nancy Marks) Mitchel, and Leslie (Rob) Bond. He also will be missed by his grandchildren, Andrew (Melissa) and Elliot Greenberg, Sydney and Eli Levenfeld, Alyssa and Olivia Mitchel, and Zoey, Asher and Avigail Bond. He also leaves behind his sister and brother-in-law of Diane and Ira Gilber, many nieces, nephews and friends.

The funeral was held on Friday, Jan. 24, at Temple Jeremiah in Northfield, with interment at Westlawn Cemetery & Mausoleum in Norridge. Arrangements were made by Chicago Jewish Funerals— Skokie Chapel.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Mt. Sinai Hospital, Office of Development, F-125, California Ave. at 15th St, Chicago, IL 60608 or to the University of Chicago, Hematology and Oncology Departments, 5841 S. Maryland Ave., Chicago, IL 60637.

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