Cover photo for Dallas Diane Mitchell's Obituary
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1944 Dallas 2024

Dallas Diane Mitchell

December 23, 1944 — February 1, 2024

JEROME

Dallas Diane Mitchell, 79, passed away February 1, 2024, at home with family by her side.  She was born December 23, 1944, in Rupert, Idaho to William Haslett Overstreet and Thora Josephine Lund. She was a Christmas baby and always claimed Christmas as her favorite holiday (probably because her birthday was just two days before!).  Being born in winter also caused it to be her favorite time of the year. She loved snow; the deeper the better.  That being said, she never learned to ski. 

Dallas was the youngest child of six children.  She had many adventures growing up in Rupert.   She told us that she often ate in the diners located around the Rupert square because her mother was a cook in them. These meals often came late at night after the diner closed. Her family lived on the “wrong side of the tracks” where the poor families lived. Despite never having much money she said she had so much love that it didn’t bother her much. Her dad was a gambler, so her mom would send her into the local bars to get money. The bar staff allowed it because she was so cute!  He always gave her some! 

She met many interesting characters during her days of running the streets of Rupert with her siblings.  She spoke of a black man named Big Jim that was an employee and friend of her dad's.  Her father didn’t approve of her friendship too much but didn’t intervene. They would walk and talk together for hours.  I can’t image that was too fun for Big Jim.  However, she treasured these memories.  I find this interesting because her father was from Virigina and his ancestors fought with the confederacy! 

Dallas had a huge heart, especially for stray dogs, cats, and people.  She’d take food down to the train tracks to feed the hobos who traveled the rail.   Her mom scolded her for doing it because of the danger and because they didn’t have much food to give away. One time her dad brought home a bulldog that had been used in a fighting ring.   It had lost a fight and was going to be put down.  But her dad had a big heart too and being a gambler, bet the owner that he could make a gentle dog out of her.  He brought the dog home and told Mom to stay away from it.  The next day he got up and found her curled up around that dog by the wood-burning stove.  (I think the dog was named Lady.)  Dallas helped her dad train the dog and it became a pet.  But to win the bet, her dad had to prove it was tamed. So, one day, he took Mom and the dog out to an old sheep herder.  Lady didn’t attack the sheep or anything.  They left the dog there to see if it would work as a sheep dog.   Unfortunately, for Mom, a few weeks later they went to pick it up.  The shepherd had showed how the dog had indeed became a top sheep dog.  Grandpa had won his bet, but Mom had lost her pet.   She could see though that the dog loved working with the sheep herder and sheep and left Lady there.   

Dallas had a hard time learning to read, and credited her 5th grade teacher, Mr. Nutting, for teaching her how.  She said he was a strict teacher, but she loved him for taking the time to teach her to read. She attended school through the 8th grade, but she spent her whole life improving her learning.   She told of reading the newspaper in her early twenties, writing down the words she didn’t know, and then her second husband, Bill Mitchell, would help her understand the words or look them up in a dictionary with her.  She eventually earned her GED. She talked about taking all the GED tests in one day at CSI.  But at the end of the day the test administrator forgot that she was there and went home and locked the door.  When she finally finished the last test, she found she was locked in!  Finally, the janitor came in about 10:00 and let her out, but she was afraid to leave her test in case taking it would ruin her score. The janitor helped her put it in an envelope and locked it up. She passed with flying colors. She was very proud of that.   She spent her whole life reading and spelling words to make sure that she truly understood what she was reading. Even in the last few days of her life she spelled words out loud when she was resting under the influence of the pain medication. Learning was important to her.

Mom became a beautician learning the trade at her sister Darla’s beauty school in Burley. She was very good at it, but she found she couldn't stand working that closely with people. They made her nervous and asked her too many questions about her life. She often ask them if they were writing a book! After graduating she cut a lot of hair and gave a lot of perms, but only to family and friends 

Mom had a lot of jobs!  One that she did a great deal of in her early days was picking potatoes for her dad. She was very good at it. One day her dad came and stopped the line because somebody had complained that she was picking too many culls, so he put a big potato sack under where the shoot was and had everybody else get down and had her pick the culls.  Not a wrong one in the bunch.  No more complaining.  Another time, probably on a bet, her dad had her fill a box of 100s, which I guess are smaller potatoes. Within just a few minutes, he stopped the belt again and went to check the box.  The box had exactly the right amount of perfect sized potatoes.  Not only was she a good sorter, but she and could pick up 100 LB bags of potatoes just like any of the guys.  She and her brother, Buddy, would have a competition loading potato sacks into the train car or truck.  Unfortunately, she paid for that ability with crushed vertebrae in her later years. 

The job she liked most was flagging when on jobs with her husband, Bill Mitchell, who she married in 1963.  She had many interesting stories to tell about her experiences.  She also enjoyed working at the INEL nuclear engineering site. Despite being exposed to radiation a couple of times, she worked hard cleaning radiated buildings. Also, while she worked at the INEL, she was cutting scrap metal on this huge machine.  She described it kind of like a guillotine.  Someone dropped something in the background making a loud bang, and she cut the end of her middle finger off!  The doctor stitched her up and told her she would never grow a fingernail on it.  But he was wrong. She did have a stunted nail grow back. 

There were two events that affected her entire life that influenced every decision and choice she made.  The first one was losing her mother to heart failure when she was 17.   She mourned the loss of her mother her whole life.  I’m sure when she got to heaven that her mother was the first person to greet her.   Followed closely by my sister Roxanne.   The other was losing her kids after divorcing her first husband, Duane Dockstader.  They had three children that she wanted to keep and raise, but she again she was only 17.  The courts just couldn’t award the children to someone so young and uneducated.  It broke her heart.   She went to Jackson Hole with her brother Buddy and worked several jobs.  She even met John F. Kennedy one day when he flew into the airport where she worked.  It was an unforgettable experience for her. In fact, she said she also met Paul Harvey, Burl Ives, and Roy Rogers. She loved sharing those claims to fame!   

Dallas was a fun mother to have.  As kids we would go stay with her in Rexburg for a few days in the summer and Christmas.  She spoiled us so much!  We would ride on a bus to get there.  She fed us anything we wanted (much too much sugar), gave us whatever we wanted, loved us as much as we wanted.  We would stay up all night to watch movies and eating popcorn, walked down to the little pioneer cemetery near her trailer park (of course, we were sure we saw ghosts), take us to eat pancakes and look at Mesa falls after staying up all night.   These are fond memories we will never forget.  

She continued that tradition with her grandchildren who remember camping, Christmas breaks, and weekends at our home. Camping was one of most favorite pastimes. We spent many of them at Grayback and Grandjean with Grandma. We would stay up way past our bedtime to listen to spooky stories around the campfire, especially the one about the grave robbers that were raccoon-like monsters. I loved playing Rummy at all hours of the day. I feel like not only did she teach me how to play, but I admired how good she was at it.
Her birthday and Christmas were always special times. When we were younger, I loved it when Aunt Jo and Grandma stayed at our home, and we would wake up on Christmas morning with them amid all our chaos. Christmas Eve always felt special; Grandma's colorful, gooey popcorn balls were always a fan favorite. I never realized how much effort went into the holidays until my mom passed, but there was so much love and hard work to make them magical for everyone. 

When we were younger, we would stay at Aunt Jo’s and Grandma’s. I’m not sure if our parents were just at the Tuma’s or in Jackpot but we would spend the weekend with her. I think I watched more rated R horror movies at that point in my life than at any point in my adulthood.  

After mom moved in with me in Jerome, we camped almost all summer long.  At first in a little pup tent that we had to crawl into, then in a dome tent where we couldn’t quite standup, then a wall tent that we used happily for many years.   We braved two bear encounters in that wall tent, which finally caused us to get a motor home.  Unfortunately, the last few years she had been unable to climb into the motorhome, so we hadn’t gone camping, except when Wes and Becky would bring their giant motorhome and he would help her in!  Mom loved being in the mountains with family and cooking over a fire.  We even had snow a few times, which she loved. 

Dallas was met by most of her grandparents, parents, all her siblings, and her daughter Roxane when she got to heaven.  She is survived by her daughter Jolene and son Wesley, eight grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and three great, great-grandchildren.  She has many nieces and nephews whom she loved, and they loved her who also survive her.   Her niece Trina, who she partly raised and took care of until Trina passed away in 2017, will be interred with her as well as 4 of the dogs we raised and loved!  It was a glorious and happy reunion in heaven on February 1, 2024. 

A graveside service will be held at 2 pm, Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at Rupert Cemetry, Rupert, Idaho.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm

Minidoka Acequia Rupert Cemetery

450 N Meridian, Rupert, ID 83350

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