Jere Holloway Mitchell
DALLAS FORMERLY OF LONGVIEW — Jere Holloway Mitchell, MD, a cardiologist and an internationally recognized expert on exercise physiology, died on July 17, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. The only child of Dorothea and Holloway Mitchell, he was born October 17, 1928 and spent a joyful childhood in Longview, Texas.
Mitchell graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1950 and went on to UT Southwestern Medical School. He received his MD in 1954, after which he completed his residency in Internal Medicine and Cardiology at Parkland Memorial Hospital. His life was transformed by the mentorship of Dr. Donald Seldin who encouraged him to pursue a career as a physician scientist.
After completing his residency, he went to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland where he trained in cardiovascular physiology. He was the first recipient of the Young Investigator Award and the Distinguished Scientist of the American College of Cardiology, the only person to have received both awards-bookends of a most remarkable scientific career.
During his postdoc, Dr. Mitchell met the love of his life, Pamela Battey Mitchell, a New England native. After a whirlwind romance, they married in Riverside, Connecticut on October 1, 1960. They lived in Bethesda and later moved to Dallas, Texas where they raised their three daughters and enjoyed a life filled with family, friends, travel, and good health.
During almost six decades on the faculty at UT Southwestern, his scientific contributions over his career were truly legendary. For example, he was the architect of the famous Dallas Bedrest and Training Study, which laid the foundation for virtually all future understanding of how the human body adapts to detraining (bedrest) and exercise. These studies changed the way doctors managed patients after heart attacks or surgery, and led to the modern practice of getting patients up and out of bed as quickly as possible for most every clinical condition.
He performed ingenious studies showing that the precise control of the circulation during exercise (how much blood the heart needs to pump, and where that blood ends up going) is regulated by both direct connections from the brain to the heart as well as by neural signals from the skeletal muscle. These field-defining, foundational experiments have been studied thousands of times by other investigators. His work has been recognized not only by the American College of Cardiology, but also by the American Physiological Society and the American College of Sports Medicine, which have awarded him the highest honors in these societies. Dr. Mitchell also served two terms as Chief of Cardiology at UT Southwestern, and he was an extraordinary mentor. His dozens of post-doctoral fellows and students have gone on to have highly successful careers in their own right, thanks to Dr. Mitchell’s guidance, mentorship, and friendship.
He was a visiting senior scientist at the University Laboratory of Physiology at Oxford University (1970-1971), and he spent several summers working at The August Krogh Institute at The University of Copenhagen.
Throughout his life, Dr. Mitchell cherished not only his academic and research career, but also the time he and Pamela spent at their second home on Cape Cod. He was an avid reader of fiction, an appreciator of art, music, and theater, an exercise enthusiast, a passionate Democrat, and above all, a devoted and loving father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He will be remembered for his loyalty, kindness, equanimity, open-mindedness, and winning smile.
He was preceded in death by Pamela, his wife of fifty years. Dr. Mitchell is survived by his loving daughters, Wendy O’Sullivan (Dallas, TX), Laurie Mitchell, MD (San Diego, CA), and Amy Poeppel (New York, NY), as well as by his sons-in-law, Brent Woods and David Poeppel. He will be missed by his grandchildren: Mathew O’Sullivan and his wife Chloe O’Sullivan, Megan O’Sullivan, Madeline Woods, Sophie Woods, Calvin Woods, Alex Poeppel, Andrew Poeppel, and Luke Poeppel. He was thrilled by the recent arrival of his great grandson Henry Mitchell O’Sullivan.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to UT Southwestern Medical Center, Parkland Hospital, or the Dallas Theater Center.
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