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Archie Emerson Mitchell

Vietnam, 1947-1962

Archie Emerson MitchellArchie Emerson Mitchell was born May 1, 1918 in Franklin Nebraska. After high school, he attended Simpson Bible college for three years, graduating in 1943. Then for one year he attended Nyack Missionary College. Marriage to Elsie May Winters and pastoral work in Ellensburg, Washington, followed in the summer of 1944. During World War II while attending a Sunday school picnic at Bly, Oregon, a Japanese balloon bomb killed his wife.

From 1945-1947 he was engaged in pastoral work at Bly, Oregon. That final year of “home service,” he married Betty Patzke, who lost a sister and brother by the same bomb which had taken the life of the first Mrs. Mitchell. Betty was a member of the C&MA Church at Ellensburg, Washington.

Betty Janet Patzke was born January 12, 1921 in Cass Lake, Minnesota. After high school she attended Simpson Bible College from 1945-1947, and upon graduating married Archie. Two days before Christmas they sailed for what was then called Indo-China, where they served for two terms at the school in Dalat, Vietnam.

During their third term, while he was serving as administrative officer at the Banmethuot Leprosarium, Archie was captured along with Ardel Vietti and Dan Gerber on May 30, 1962 by Viet Cong troops. Betty and her four children Rebecca, Loretta, Glenn, and Geraldine remained there to work among the leprous. During the ensuing years, the children grew up and came to the States to complete their education.

In April 1975 Betty, along with six other missionaries, was taken captive by the Viet Cong. After nine and a half months of captivity, plagued by illness and discouragement, they were released by their captors.

Betty went back to the field to serve as the school dietician at the Dalat school in Penang, Malaysia. Mrs. Mitchell retired from the mission field in 1987. Since then she has worked in North Carolina with the Dega people, a vietnamese tribal group that resettled in the States.

Taken in part from various C&MA publications.

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