Sophy Mae Mitchell, Jr.

Sophy Mae Mitchell Jr. of Sebring, Florida passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the age of 89. Born in Sebring to Tom and Sophy (Smith) Mitchell Sr., Sophy graduated from Sebring High School in 1949, earned her bachelor degree from the University of Florida in 1953 and her master’s from Florida State University in 1959.

Sophy’s proudest accomplishment was becoming the very first woman to join the University of Florida marching band. She had marched under “Prof” Gustat at Sebring and convinced the Gator’s band director to let her march as a bell lyre player in 1951. After graduating, she continued to remain active as an original member of the Gator Alumni Band and was inducted into the Gator Band Hall of Fame in 2009.

Sophy worked for many different food management companies in many different cities over the years. She taught food and restaurant management at Florida State University 1971-1975. She retired home to Sebring in 1994 and ran Adopt Me! Dog Rescue until 2015. She was a member of the Sebring Historical Society, Highlands County Concert Band, the Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club as well as many other local organizations.

Sophy is preceded in death by her parents and her brothers, Joe, Henry, Bob and Tom. She is survived by 18 nieces and nephews and 29 great-nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, April 16, 2021, at Sebring First Presbyterian Church. Family will receive friends at noon.

Arrangements entrusted to Stephenson-Nelson Funeral Home, 4001 Sebring Parkway, Sebring, FL 33870. Online condolences may be left at