Blizzard takes life of Clovis farmer

Even though he was 81 years old, it came as no surprise to family members that when Monday's blizzard hit, Elbert Mitchell grabbed a shovel and headed out to clear the driveway.

Concerned for his safety, Beulah Mitchell asked him to come inside, but she said he told her he was almost through.

Elbert Mitchell never made it back into the house, falling and suffering a head injury his doctor later determined was caused by a heart attack.

Elbert Mitchell

"He went to the farm every day when we moved to town," Beulah Mitchell said.

She said their farm is about five miles west of Cannon Air Force Base and that her husband was a dedicated farmer who enjoyed that life.

"Everybody loved him," she said. "He just was kind and helped everybody he could. He's generous and a great mate."

Clovis police confirmed Mitchell was the only blizzard-related death in the area. Capt. Patrick Whitney of the Clovis Police Department said emergency medical services responded to Mitchell's home on Northglen Drive and exercised life-saving measures at the scene.

Whitney said Mitchell was pronounced dead around 4:20 p.m. Monday, shortly after he arrived at Plains Regional Medical Center.

According to Harvard Health, a Harvard University publication, snow shoveling is a known trigger for heart attacks because cold weather can boost blood pressure and interrupt blood flow to part of the heart, making blood more likely to form clots.

Beulah Mitchell described her husband as a family man who didn't enjoy too many pleasures, with the exception of riding motorcycles and playing string instruments, including the violin, guitar and mandolin.

"He plays bluegrass and country music," said Beulah Mitchell about her husband. "He likes good hymns."

She added that he was a faithful servant to God who never missed a Sunday or Wednesday at Faith Christian Family Church in Clovis.

Beulah Mitchell said she met her husband while they attended Ranchvale High School and they have been married for nearly 63 years.

"He was a good companion," Beulah Mitchell said. "We were together all the time. I can't name too many days and nights we were apart. He would do anything for me."

She said she's saddened that his presence and kind nature will no longer be around and knows his four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren will miss riding around with him in the tractors he kept on his farm.

Mitchell's 59-year-old son, Lonnie Mitchell of Clovis, a Realtor and business owner, said his father would be humbled by the community's support for his family during this hard time.

"Everybody that knew him loved him," Lonnie Mitchell said.

He said the one thing that stood out about his father, who grew wheat and grain sorghum, was that farming was in his blood.

"That's what he always wanted to do," Lonnie Mitchell said.

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