Lloyd Campbell "Mitch" Mitchner, who had been director of Baltimore's Urban Services Agency during the mayoral administration of Kurt L. Schmoke and later headed AFRAM, the African-American cultural festival, died July 16 of lung cancer at Northwest Hospital. He was 84.
"I've known Lloyd since I was a teenager when he and my mother and Barbara Mikulski were social workers for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services," said Mr. Schmoke, former dean of the Howard University Law School, who is now university vice president and general counsel.
"He had a long career of improving life for those who lived in the city, first as a social worker and later as an agency head," he said. "He had compassion for and worried about the plight of the poor."
The son of a Pullman Co. porter and a registered nurse, Mr. Mitchner was born in Baltimore and raised in Harlem Park.
After graduating in 1946 from Frederick Douglass High School, he enlisted in the Army and served in Korea and Japan.
After being discharged with the rank of lieutenant, Mr. Mitchner enrolled at what is now Morgan State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and did graduate studies in urban planning at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.
Mr. Mitchner worked as a social worker in the early 1960s for the city Department of Social Services. He moved in the late 1960s to Detroit, when he took a job as an international representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.
He returned to Baltimore in 1969 and went to work for Model Cities and the Urban League.
In 1989, he became acting director of the city's Urban Services Agency, which had been created in 1974 out of two 1960s anti-poverty programs, the Community Action Agency and Model Cities.
"Mitch was an excellent guy and very bright and competent," said Lenwood M. Ivey, who had headed the agency until being succeeded by Mr. Mitchner when he was named director in 1990.
"He was a talented and outstanding administrator who was committed to the organization. Everyone in the agency respected him," said Mr. Ivey, who had gotten to know Mr. Mitchner when he was his caseworker supervisor in the city Department of Social Services.
When the agency was abolished in 1993, Mr. Mitchner retired.
Also during the 1990s, he served as president of the Board of Recreation and Parks.
In 1995, he was appointed director of AFRAM Expo Inc., the nonprofit that ran AFRAM, an ethnic festival that celebrated the city's African-American heritage and was founded in 1976.
He resigned as director in 1999.
"Being director of AFRAM was a great delight for Mitch. He particularly loved the entertainment that he could bring to the city that lifted people's spirits," said Mr. Schmoke.
"He was a very inclusive manager and sought out participation from those he worked with and he knew how to encourage people," he said. "I always thought he was an effective manager and a joy to work with."
Mr. Mitchner was an active member of The Meritocrats Inc., a social club, and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
The longtime Randallstown resident enjoyed entertaining family and friends. He liked watching TV, football and reading.
"He enjoyed decorating our house both inside and out at Christmas," said his wife of 42 years, the former Maxine Denis, a retired addictions counselor and former model. "He just loved all the lights."
Services will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Vaughn C. Greene Funeral Home, 8728 Liberty Road, Randallstown.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Mitchner is survived by two sons, Ronald Mitchner of Catonsville and Monderios "Mondie" Coleman of Randallstown; a daughter, Donna Mitchner of Randallstown; two brothers, Charles Mitchner Jr. of Lansing, Mich., and Donald Mitchner of San Jose, Calif.; a sister, Norma M. Lamb of Winters, Calif.; 10 grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. Two earlier marriages ended in divorce.Copyright © 2015, CT Now