Picture posted by Laurie Barth Gathercole to Facebook group Sylvan Lake Rocks. (photo from Facebook)

Picture posted by Laurie Barth Gathercole to Facebook group Sylvan Lake Rocks. (photo from Facebook)

Sylvan Lake community mourns local business owner’s passing

Sylvan Lake is mourning the loss of local DQ business owner and resident Chris Mitchell.

A long time Sylvan Lake resident Chris Mitchell passed away peacefully with his family at his side, at the Red Deer Hospice, July 10. His passing has been hard on family, friends, staff at Sylvan Lake’s Dairy Queen which Chris and his wife Pam own, and the community of Sylvan Lake.

“It’s been hard on all of us but he would want us to put on a happy face and remember him as that great funny guy who always had a story to tell. He always liked to make people smile and laugh.” his wife, Pam said in an interview this week.

He also enjoyed being a mentor and giving advice to kids in the store. He would always tell them, “If you want something bad enough you have to go for it and work towards it.”

The family has been overwhelmed by the response from the community.

“I was surprised with how big the response was. I knew he was well liked in the community but to the extent it is overwhelming and wonderful. He was loved by many,” said Pam.

Chris was a community minded person and enjoyed volunteering at different events and committee’s over the years. He was the first to lend a hand when needed and never missed an opportunity to volunteer his time to do things with his two children.

“He would go out of his way to help anyone and never wanted or expected anything in return.”

Many people in the community have also been painting rocks and leaving them by the Dairy Queen.

“My husband loved to paint rocks. We were introduced to painted rocks when we went to Portugal and afterwards when we came home we started painting them.”

Painting rocks was something he enjoyed doing with his daughter, Janeele and sometimes their son Jayden and Pam would do a few too, making it family bonding time.

There will be a private celebration of life with family and close friends at a later date. A life-long resident of Central Alberta, Chris’ first job was at the Dairy Queen in Red Deer, learning from owner Gord Hamill. Chris and Pam met through Dairy Queen and opened their own first store in Red Deer in 1990. They relocated to Sylvan Lake in 1994 and opened the current Dairy Queen while raising their two children, Janelle and Jayden.

Memorial donations can be made to Central Alberta Cancer Society, Red Deer Hospice, or to Chris’s favourite charity CMN Hospitals-Alberta Children’s Hospital or Stollery Children’s Hospital.

“We’re so thankful to everyone in the community for all the stories, comments, and things shared in memory of Chris.”