Pauline Gatewood Mitchell of Dublin, VA, known fondly as “Polly”, passed away at the home she shared with her daughter in Dublin on November 29, 2020. She was ninety-five and a half.
Polly was raised by her beloved aunt and uncle, Brownie (Yeager) Gatewood and Andrew Gatewood, in Pulaski Va. As a child, Polly was outgoing, participated in theatre and musical performances, formed a life-long passion for animals, and enjoyed many a game of “kick the can” and “stick ball” with neighborhood friends. She later developed a love for riding and showing horses and was an avid bowler, participating on numerous bowling leagues through the years.
Polly attended Mary Washington College for two years, then returned to Pulaski to accept a payroll position with the Appalachian Power Company. In 1962 she married Fred Mitchell, also an employee of Appalachian Power. They were married until his passing in 1993 and together had one daughter, Susan. Polly left the power company after 28 years and became a devoted stay-at-home wife and mother. She was involved in Susan’s dance, piano, and band activities, shared her love of riding and showing horses with Susan, and served as Susan’s brownie troop leader and later, girl scout leader. Polly took a newspaper route with the Southwest Times from the early 1970’s through the mid 1980’s for “something to do”, usually riding her bright yellow moped and nearly always accompanied by one or more of her dogs.
Polly was well known for her love of animals, her dedication to the Pulaski community, and her “wacky” sense of humor. The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Polly might be the menagerie of dogs, cats, rabbits, ducks, and horses who were part of her family over the years. She was a “charter” member of the Pulaski County Humane Society, and spent many years actively working to improve the welfare of animals in Pulaski County. Polly served two terms on the Pulaski town council (1980-84 and 1996-2000) and was known for standing up for others and for what she thought to be fair. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church from childhood and a member of the church choir from her twenties into her eighties. Over the years Polly helped to coordinate many community activities including the Count Pulaski Day events, Pulaski Fest, and pet shows at the New River Valley Fair. She served on the board of the New River Valley Agency On Aging, volunteered with the New River Valley Historical Society and was a proud member of the Clean Community Council of Pulaski well into her eighties. If you spent much time with Polly, you know she loved to laugh and you probably heard some of her quirky sayings like “Oh, go milk a duck” or her favorite parting phrase “La-ti-daaa”.
Polly spent the final three years of a well-lived life enjoying her animals and her bird feeders, watching her favorite television shows (“Wheel of Fortune”, “Murder She Wrote” and “Perry Mason”), singing songs and playing games, and taking in the beautiful scenery on a little farm in Dublin with her daughter. She also enjoyed occasional outings to horse shows, to The Marketplace in Pulaski to visit old friends, and to view Christmas lights during the holidays. She remained cheerful, full of life and “one-of-a-kind” to the end.
Polly is survived by her daughter, Susan Mitchell, of Dublin Va., her older sister, Lucille, of Gretna, Va., and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Fred, her sister, Brownie, and brother, Bill.
A celebration of Polly’s life will be planned at a future date.
Arrangements by Stevens Funeral Home, Pulaski, VA.