Vale Frank Mitchell
MITCHELL, Francis Alan - 23/08/1930 - 19/02/2022
It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of Frank Mitchell, owner of Pinewood Quality Nursery.
Frank’s early years were spent working in market gardens where he had a great respect for the process of growing quality vegetables. This passion for growing would serve him well over the next 60 years in the nursery industry.
Frank and his wife Nancy opened the nursery in October 1960. Frank worked at Warner’s Nursery in Burwood through the week and spent his Saturdays and Sundays selling plants out of a small shed on Pinewood’s Glen Waverley site with his wife, Nancy. The nursery still operates from that very same site and is one of Victoria’s oldest and most successful retail nurseries.
By 1963, after Frank had been running his nursery part-time for four years, he was able to leave Warner’s to operate Pinewood full-time. It grew, gaining a loyal customer base along the way, and in 1980, the site was expanded and redeveloped.
Frank always valued his apprentices and his employees as individuals. Nothing demonstrates this more than the crates out the back where he grows vegetables for staff members to take home. When you worked under him, you became part of the team and he never forgot a teammate quickly. He would regularly catch up with NGIV life member John van der Hoorst, who spent 12 years working at Pinewood before he opened Acorn Nursery in 1985.
We would often see Frank at TAFE horticultural award nights, handing out prizes to the next generation. He was passionate about giving back to the industry and knew the value of inspiring and educating young horticulturists.
Frank Mitchell was a generous man who spent many years volunteering in Rotary. His personal achievements were recognised many times by his Rotarian peers. He was an active member in the Pinewood and Waverley community and was always willing to support local schools and charities.
Frank accepted the ever-changing garden and lifestyle trends over the past 60 years, successfully adapting the nursery to meet this change.
Frank’s love of growing vegetables remained with him throughout his life. He spent many hours at the back of the nursery tending to the large vegetable plots. He produced massive quantities of vegetables which he then generously gave away. If you were lucky enough to visit the nursery on harvest day, you were treated to some quality “home grown” veg. His pumpkins were a favourite with customers.
Frank passed away peacefully on 19th February 2022.
Frank was the dearly loved husband of Nancy. Father of Alan, Dorothy, Jennifer and Annette. Much loved Grandfather of Brad, Phillipa, Emily, Erin, Anjee, Ashlee and Abbey. And Father-in-law and friend to Rod, Craig, Lisa and Jane.
A graveside service to celebrate Frank's life will be held at Springvale Botnaical Cemetry on Thursday 3 March commencing at 10:00am.
On behalf of the Nursey and Garden Industry of Victoria Board, staff and members, we offer our deepest condolences to Frank's family and friends.