published Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Former U.S. Rep. and Dalton native Harlan Mitchell dies

Harlan Erwin Mitchell, 87, a former U.S. congressman and native of Dalton, Ga., passed away Tuesday.

The son of a Dalton lawyer, Mitchell followed in his father’s footsteps, earning a law degree in 1948 after serving as an airman in the Pacific during World War II.

He was district attorney for the Cherokee Circuit and was elected judge at the age of 31, making him Georgia's youngest Superior Court judge.

He served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, relinquishing his seat in 1961 to run for the state Senate. He left state politics to become Dalton's city attorney, a position in which he served for more than 25 years.

He was widely recognized for spearheading what became known as the Georgia Project, a program that sought to boost English proficiency for Spanish-speaking children by bringing bilingual teachers, certified in Mexico, to Dalton, and sending local teacher to a month-long intensive course on Spanish language and culture at the University of Monterrey in Mexico.

Memorial services will be Thursday at 3 p.m. at the Dalton First United Methodist Church with the Robin Lindsey officiating.

Words of comfort may be sent to the family at Love Funeral Home at 1402 N. Thornton Ave. in Dalton is in charge of arrangements.

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