California lost a well known, long-time scuba instructor just before the new year. Wayne D. Mitchell, fondly known as “Mitch”, owned Mitchell Scuba College in San Bruno, CA. He died at his home on December 30, 2015.

Wayne diving on Kodiak Island, Alaska.

Wayne diving on Kodiak Island, Alaska.

Born in Hawaii and raised in San Francisco, Mitch attended St. Paul’s School and graduated from Riordan High School. Mitch was a regular on KPIX Dance Party. He served his country in the United States Army and was stationed at Fort Shafter in Hawaii where he married his honey in 1966. Aloha was his way of life.

Soon after, Wayne joined the San Francisco Fire Department and retired as Captain after 30 years of service. Mitch shared his fond memories of his service to the people of San Francisco:

“I enjoyed a wonderful career with the San Francisco Fire Department and was Captain of the SFFD Coast Rescue Unit (CR-1) and Engine Company 34 for over 8 years; I was also an Instructor in the SFFD Water Rescue Program for a number of years. Needless to say, when I went to the firehouse I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the ocean participating in surf rescues – or cliff rescues on the sheer cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. If you have never been to San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, try to imagine 12 foot waves with a 6 second interval, and on top of that the whole beach is “ripping” out to sea. For those with the proper training it can be a great day of fun in the surf; for those without the proper training, it can be deadly. Simple common sense dictates you always make sure that you are trained for the activity you want to engage in.”

Mitch truly embraced life and lived each day to the fullest. He loved dancing, traveling, running, riding his bike, driving his 1965 Mustang, and operating his ham radio, but his greatest passions in life were diving and his family.

Mitch became a NAUI SCUBA Instructor in 1990. He enjoyed diving all over the world, but the California coastline was his favorite. Mitch enjoyed his SCUBA students and made many lasting friendships over the years.

Mitch was a loving husband and best friend to his wife Kay, a devoted and playful dad to Jennifer, and world’s best papa to his granddaughter Madison. He will be remembered for his sense of humor, love of life, and the values he imparted.

A memorial will be held at Cypress Lawn Funeral Home, Tiffany Chapel at 11:00am on Sunday, January 10, 2016.