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Claude Mitchell "Mitch" Carnell, Jr., Ph.D., 88, of Charleston, South Carolina, entered into eternal rest on Monday, January 30, 2023. His Funeral Service will be held Saturday, February 4, 2023, at the First Baptist Church, 61 Church Street, Charleston, SC 29401 at 12:00 pm. Burial will follow in Live Oak Memorial Gardens, weather permitting. The family will receive friends on Friday, February 3, 2023, in the J. Henry Stuhr, Inc. West Ashley Chapel, 3360 Glenn McConnell Pkwy, Charleston, SC 29414 from 5:00 pm until 7:00 pm.
Mitch was born April 27, 1934, in Woodruff, South Carolina, the son of the late Claude Mitchell Carnell, Sr. and Edith Ila Gossett Carnell. He is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth Suzanne Smith of Murfreesboro, TN; son, Claude Michael Carnell of Charleston, SC (Nancy); grandchildren, Christopher Smith (Raven), Christina Carnell, and Colin Carnell; sister, Jean Wallace (Bunky); as well as many nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, Mitch was preceded in death by his first wife and mother of his children, Elizabeth Jean Frei Carnell; and later by his wife, Carol Spurlock Carnell.
He earned his associate degree from Mars Hill College, bachelor’s degree from Furman University, Masters's from the University of Alabama, Doctorate from Louisiana State University, and an honorary doctorate from Lander University. Over the years he also taught for Webster University, The Citadel, Charleston Southern, College of Charleston, MUSC, Trident Technical College, and many other institutions both large and small.
Mitch was the Director, President, and CEO of Charleston Speech & Hearing Center for well over 30 years. He was a Fellow of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association, a member with honors of the South Carolina Speech Language and Hearing Association, and a member of many other professional organizations. His career was spent in the service of others and is sprinkled with innumerable awards, citations, and board memberships. In 1998 he received The Order of the Palmetto from the state of South Carolina.
Mitch is the author of “Say Something Nice, Be a Lifter!“, “Speaking in Church Made Simple: A Step-By-Step Guide“, “Development, Management, and Evaluation of Community Speech and Hearing Centers“, and the editor of “Christian Civility in an Uncivil World“. In the past, he had been a regular columnist for the Charleston Post & Courier. He also authored a wealth of articles in both professional journals and general interest publications.
In 2006, Mitch’s work in communication and good works was officially recognized when the mayor of North Charleston, South Carolina proclaimed June 1 as “Say Something Nice Day” in recognition of Mitch’s communication efforts. Since that time many other municipalities, businesses, religious organizations, and community groups have come to recognize Say Something Day across the country.
He was a long-time member of the First Baptist Church of Charleston where he had served as a deacon, Sunday school teacher, and leader or member on many committees. In 1992 he organized and served as chair of the John A. Hamrick Lectureship in Baptist history. This series was held annually in Charleston for many years.
In his more personal life, he loved spending time with his family and friends, especially over a good meal. He also was an avid traveler and had visited all fifty states at least once and many more than once. He also traveled extensively overseas even going so far as New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and Russia. These were trips he took with his family and friends so that he could share the experience. He glowed in joy at the success of his grandchildren Christopher, Christina, and Colin. There was no greater joy to him than the happiness of “the kids.” He also reveled in spending time with the extended family of neices, nephews, cousins, spouses, friends, and the occasional pest. All who knew Mitch will deeply miss him.
Memorial donations can be made in Mitch's honor to the Alzheimer’s Association, the Music Fund of the First Baptist Church of Charleston, or the SC Speech and Hearing Foundation, P.O. Box 1763, Columbia, SC 29202.
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