Joyce Elizabeth Adejumo (Hunt) was born to Mary Elizabeth Sales and Johnny Willie White in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on Dec. 24, 1959. She grew up in Durham North Carolina, where as a child, she demonstrated exceptional skills in mathematics, music, and visual and performance arts.
In June 1983 she became the first African American female to graduate from the North Carolina Military Academy in the 25-year history of the academy. She rose to the rank of Captain during her service in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard. She completed her degree from Vincennes University prior to leaving the military.
Joyce had one son, Fred Leon “Mitchie” Mitchell, born in 1985. As a child, Mitchie was injured in a driving-while-intoxicated (DWI) related car wreck. Together, Joyce and Mitchie became outspoken advocates for tougher laws against DWI working closely with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
They helped to educate the public, lawmakers, policy makers and DWI offenders about the consequences of drunk driving, helping to pass laws to protect victims of DWI. After Mitchie’s passing in 2007, Joyce formed the Mitchie Mitchell Foundation (mitchiemitchell.org) to provide academic scholarships to high school students who are survivors, and the immediate family members of people injured or killed by drunk drivers.
Many considered her a pillar in the Austin community where she lived since 1985. She served on numerous boards including KAZI 88.7 FM community radio. Her passion for African American art inspired her to open Mitchie’s Gallery in 1989, and the gallery became a gathering place for the community. Mitchie’s Gallery introduced thousands of people to African American art, books, and collectibles while providing a forum for poetry reading and free meeting space for community groups and community events.
Each year, Mitchie’s provide activities in art, story time, poetry, and singing for hundreds of children living in Central Austin and immediate area. Mitchie’s Easter egg design and taking pictures with Santa at Christmas time were some of the most anticipated annual events at Mitchie’s.
Joyce closed Mitchie’s Gallery in August, 2012 to receive treatment for pulmonary emphysema. While receiving treatment, she became an advocate for organ donation in society. She passed away on May 27, 2013 awaiting a lung transplant. Donations can be sent to the Mitchie Mitchell Foundation, 8000 Parlaiment Place, Austin, Tx, 78759.
Funeral Services, Wednesday, June 5, 11 a.m. at Mt. Sinai, 5900 Cameron Road
By Adisa Communications