John Douglas Mitchem

John Douglas Mitchem

NIAGARA, Wis. — John Douglas Mitchem, of Niagara, died on March 2, 2019, at his home.

He was born on June 12, 1944, in Thorpe, W.Va., son of Sherman and Hallie (Sexton) Mitchem. Family and friends fondly called him JD, his mother nicknamed him Sammy, and in later years his friend referred to him as the man in black, because his favorite attire was a long, black, leather trench coat and black Fedora hat.

He came from a musical family and his instrument of choice was the drums, playing in local bands in his younger years. He also loved playing pool, trout fishing, finding treasures with his metal detector, and especially foraging for wild ginseng. He was a Vietnam veteran and a diesel mechanic by trade who loved cars “with speed.” He enjoyed family gatherings but always said it wasn’t a party without the ham sandwiches.

Survivors include his children, Andrew (Brianna) Mitchem, Mary Kay (James Kowalkowski) Mitchem, Adrian Mitchem, and their mother, Lisa (Nelson) Mitchem; his grandchildren, Alex Mitchem, Austin Mitchem, Cooper Mitchem, Madelynn Mitchem, Emma Kowalkowski, Sophie Kowalkowski, Chloe Mitchem, Addison and Ellie Mitchem; his siblings, Lois Brash, Charles (Sandy) Mitchem, Tony (Fran) Mitchem, Drema (Denny) Charette, Jeff (Diane) Presley, Belva (Scott) Gustafson, Jimmy (Ruth) Presley; and many nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by three brothers, David Mitchem, Joe Mitchem and Frank Mitchem; and his beloved dog, Peanut.

Visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 16 at the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home. Services will follow at 11 a.m. at the funeral home.

Condolences may be expressed to the family of John Douglas Mitchem online at

The family has entrusted the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home of Iron Mountain with the arrangements.