Hearts Love 05

Janice Marie Mitchell

February 1, 1963 ~ November 15, 2021 (age 58)


Janice Marie Mitchell (White/Washington) was born February 1, 1963, in Natchitoches, Louisiana, to loving parents, Ola Mae Babers and LuArthur Washington (both deceased). She was the second to youngest of 8 children, including Mary Lee (deceased), Ida, Susie, Gerlean, John, Shawn, and Glenda. She also has over 28 nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews. Growing up, Janice was a member of the Second Baptist Church, Junior Usher Board, 4-H Club, Junior ROTC, and later ROTC. Janice attended Weaver Elementary School, Natchitoches Junior High School, and Natchitoches Central High School.

After graduating from high school, Janice went on to attend Southern University and A & M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she obtained a Bachelor of Social Work degree in 1986. Janice went on to graduate from The University of Chicago with a Master of Social Work degree in 1988. It was there in Chicago, Illinois that Janice met Daniel (Danny) Mitchell and the two were wed on May 27, 1989 in her hometown of Natchitoches. Janice and Danny remained in a loving marital union for 32 years and together have two adult children, Jeniece and Everette Mitchell.

After moving to Urbana, Illinois, Janice worked for various youth-serving organizations, including Cunningham Children’s Home, Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, Regional Office of Education, and Urbana School District 116. Additionally, she served as a parent volunteer in the local schools, creating programs to teach underserved youth about their rich heritage, as well as provide academic and social-emotional enrichment. She founded “Prairie Tracks”, “Brothas & Sistas”, and “Sankofa Summer Exposures” programs for students at Prairie (Dr. Williams) Elementary and Urbana Middle School. In 2010, her dream of opening a youth development facility in east Urbana became a reality. Janice Mitchell became Founder and CEO of Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center, Inc., a community center that serves anywhere between 50 and 100 Pre-K to 12th grade students during after-school and summer programming hours, year-round. During the global pandemic, UNCC’s doors remained open all day to provide a space for students to engage in virtual learning in a supervised, supportive environment.

Some of Janice’s other notable accomplishments, not in chronological order, include: serving as Commander of the 378th Chemical Company of the U.S. Army Reserves Unit where she was affectionately known, even long after retirement as “Captain Mitchell”, starting her own cake decorating business “Mitchell’s Sweet Creations”, decorating multiple venues for various occasions, working alongside Urbana High School staff to assist pregnant teen girls in attaining their diploma, being an active member of the Champaign County Housing Authority Board for 10 years, starting the Urbana High School Equity & Social Justice Club, founding the College & Career Readiness Program as an extension of the center, starting the first youth praise dance ministry at Jericho Missionary Baptist Church (now dissolved), serving therein as usher board President, and in countless other roles for over 25 years, and even in the face of tremendous adversity, becoming a founding member of Greater Philadelphia Baptist Church in Urbana, Illinois in 2019, where she served in the usher ministry and as Church Clerk.

On the rare occasion that she took a personal leave for vacation, Janice enjoyed sewing, cooking, traveling back home to Louisiana to spend time with her family, shopping in nearby major cities, and spending time with close friends.

Janice Mitchell was well known for her loving nature and unwavering service to her community, her church, and her nation. She would spend long nights writing grant proposals and planning for upcoming programs alongside trusted colleagues, to ensure that her program participants would reap the benefits of her labor. She made sure those in need received food, furniture, clothing, or even just a listening ear. She gave advice and feedback that was direct, constructive, and meant to positively influence your decision making. She would show up to a funeral or community event, prepared to usher and assist in any other way needed. She led fundraisers and took bus loads of students on trips to museums, theme parks, and college campuses all over the United States and Canada. She facilitated the provision of scholarships and laptops to several groups of graduating high school seniors in Champaign County. She made countless weddings, baby showers, graduation parties, anniversaries, and retirement celebrations special. She was a Godmother to Lentroy Anderson, Tina Findley, Rakeem Sallee, Donald “Ducky” Stewart, Celina White, and most recently baby Erique “EJ” Wright. She was a mother figure to many students, program participants, church youth, and neighborhood children over the years.

A loving daughter, wife, mother, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, mentor, servant, leader, and friend, Janice Mitchell gave her very best to this world. She truly exhibited the qualities of the Proverbs 31:10-31 virtuous woman. She had many God-given gifts that she shared with anyone and everyone in her path. She truly lived up to the sentiments of her favorite scripture, Luke 12:48: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” On the morning of November 15th, 2021, Janice Mitchell departed this earthly life and will be deeply missed by many, but her spirit of excellence, her passion for education, and her legacy of love will remain present in our minds and hearts forever.

A Homegoing Celebration will commence at 12:00 Noon Monday November 22, 2021 at Vineyard Church 1500 N. Lincoln Ave. Urbana, IL. Visitation will begin at 11:00 am until the time of the service. Burial will be from 2-3pm at Lincoln Memorial Gardens 1803 N. Coler Ave. Urbana, IL.

A public viewing will be held on Sunday, November 21, 2021 from 2-4pm at Leek & Sons Funeral Home 1215 W. Bradley Ave. Urbana, IL.



To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Janice Marie Mitchell, please visit our floral store.


November 21, 2021

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Leek & Sons Funeral Home
1215 W Bradley Ave
Urbana, IL 61801

November 22, 2021

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
The Vinyard Church
1500 N Lincoln Ave
Urbana, IL 61801

Funeral Service
November 22, 2021

12:00 PM
The Vinyard Church
1500 N Lincoln Ave
Urbana, IL 61801

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