Celebration of life held for Dan Mitchell

| July 10, 2019

Jason Mitchell (left) is pictured with family friend Billy Moody who helped organize a celebration of life for Jason’s father, the late Dan Mitchell. Dan, an award winning singer, songwriter and producer, who was born and raised in Coshocton, passed away suddenly in May. Josie Sellers | Beacon

COSHOCTON – The love and support the Coshocton community showed Cathy Mitchell during her husband’s celebration of life brought tears to her eyes.

“I appreciate this a lot,” said the widow of the late Dan Mitchell. “It means a lot to think that this many people thought of him. He was a wonderful guy who would do anything in the world for you.”

Dan, who was born and raised in Coshocton and graduated from River View High School in 1971, died unexpectedly on May 21. He was an award winning singer, songwriter and producer. He co-wrote “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band” and he most recently was inducted into the North American Country Music Association International Hall of Fame. He and Cathy were living in Nashville, Tenn. at the time of his death, but family friend Billy Moody organized the July 6 celebration of life at The Riverfront so Coshocton family and friends could honor and remember him.

“I met him at Glass Music,” Moody said. “I was 19 or 20 and was in there playing a guitar. He was listening to me and walked up and asked if I ever thought about being serious with the guitar. When he introduced himself to me I about fell over because I always wanted to meet him. We were best friends from there on.”

Dan opened up doors for Moody and he was able to play on several demos and take part in the Johnny Paycheck Project.

When Dan died, Moody knew he had to do something to help Cathy.

“His whole family is my family,” Moody said.

The celebration of life included food, an auction, cornhole, music and more. All donations raised went to help Cathy with medical bills.

“We want to do everything we can to help Cathy and this is not over by a long shot,” Moody said.

Jason Mitchell, Dan and Cathy’s son, said it was important to the family that people in both Nashville and Coshocton have the chance to say good-bye. Dan was cremated and his remains were brought to the celebration of life along with several of his awards and accomplishments.

“Everyone knew him here (in Coshocton) and he loved it here,” Jason said. “His roots were here. He never forgot where he came from. I want people to remember him not for the songs he wrote, but for the love he had for music.”

For Dan it was all about hard work and perseverance.

“His dream was a Gold Record and he got it,” Jason said. “Mine was to play at a stadium and I did it. If you think you want to do something you have to bust your butt for it.”

Jason is hoping to move his mom down to Texas in the next couple of months to be closer to him and his family.

“If you knew dad you knew he had some medical problems,” Jason said. “I have to give Billy Moody a huge thank you for this. Everything raised tonight will help with medical expenses and other things that need taken care of to help mom.”

One of the fundraisers at the event was an auction that Ken Posey was helping to run.

“Coshocton always comes out for people,” he said. “Whenever there is a fire or some other type of emergency, there is someone there to help. There are people I met for the first time here tonight, but now we are family.”

Included in the crowd was Dan’s mother Carol Mitchell.

“I got him (Dan) a little guitar when he was 8-years-old and it had a built-in amplifier,” she said. “That got him started. He’s sung at so many places since then and even sang for a wedding on the canal boat. I’m just overwhelmed with all this tonight (at the celebration of life).”

Dan’s sister Rhonda Davis also was thankful for everyone who came out to the celebration of life.

“This was a wonderful tribute to my brother,” she said. “I have to give Billy (Moody) and his crew a big thank you. This would not have happened without them and everyone who donated.”

As an added surprise to everyone, Moody announced that his wife Tammy worked with officials to have signs put up on State Route 16 and near Cooperdale honoring Coshocton as Dan’s home.

“They will be there forever,” Moody said.

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Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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