Rebecca R. Mitchell of Trenton, N.J., passed away on March 5, 2021 at age 93. She was born in Wilkesboro, the oldest daughter of William Henry and Ella Rousseau. After her mother passed, she was raised by her father and his second wife, Jessie. She attended Lincoln Heights and was a member of Rickards Chapel AME Zion Church, where her father was a trustee and her grandfather was a founder. Soon after WWII, Rebecca and her husband, Richard “Jack” Mitchell of North Wilkesboro, moved to Trenton, N.J., where they spent the rest of their lives, raising their children and enjoying their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Rebecca attended the former Livingston College of Rutgers, the State University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Community Development and Urban Planning. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Rider University. She began her professional career as a Real Estate Agent and later a Broker at the Richip Realty Company in Trenton, and held several positions of increasing responsibility in the housing and urban development fields for the city. She worked at the Trenton Housing Authority as a manager and joined the City of Trenton’s Urban Renewal Project as a relocation specialist, locating housing for families displaced by the construction of the New Jersey Justice Complex. Rebecca then joined Trenton’s Model Cities program as an urban planner, where she oversaw many of the city’s urban renewal projects. Through the years, she continued to experience an upwardly mobile career, becoming the first African American woman to serve as a Bureau Chief for the Department of Housing and Development and Neighborhood Planning for the city.
As a member of Shiloh Baptist Church for over 70 years, she served as a Trustee Aide, a special assistant to the Pastor, a member of the Task Force for the planned Family Life Center and in numerous other service capacities, including teaching Sunday school in her younger years. She was also a member of the Board of the Trenton Ecumenical Area Ministry (TEAM) as well as the Board of Directors of the Trenton NAACP.
Rebecca is predeceased by her husband, Richard Douglas Mitchell, to whom she was married for over 54 years; her three sisters, Vivian Hairston, Jeanette Watson and Ovelia Harris; and brother John Vaughn. She is survived by two daughters, Dr. Diane Banks Campbell and Carolyn Mitchell; three granddaughters, Monifa Harrison (Edward), Keisha Cureton (Reverend John), Ayanna Patterson (Dr. Markeith) and seven great-grandchildren, Jeremy and Tristan Harrison; John, Joshua and Gabriel Cureton; and Elijah and Eliana Patterson. She is also survived by her brother, Matthew Rousseau, and many nieces and nephews.
A viewing for the public was held at the Campbell Funeral Chapel, 1225 Calhoun Street, Trenton, N.J., on March 12, 2021, from noon to 1 p.m. Funeral services will be private. Interment will be at the Ewing Cemetery, Ewing N.J. In lieu of flowers, the family requests in memoriam contributions be made to Shiloh Baptist Church, 340 S. Howard Woodson Way, Trenton, N.J., 08618.