Mitchell Gary Casey, 70, of Waterbury passed away Friday, January 5, 2024, surrounded by the unwavering love of his family. Born on April 23, 1953 to Hugh Frederick Casey and Geneva Boyce Morse of Waterbury, Mitch lived most of his childhood in Duxbury directly across from the elementary school. Here he developed many close friendships with neighborhood children and classmates where he made countless fond memories playing basketball, wiffle ball, riding bikes and engaging in typical childhood mischief. Mitch also spent lots of time at both his grandparents’ farm and that of some close family in Connecticut where he developed a respect for and appreciation of hard work.  

It was in his childhood that he developed many passions, most of which he carried with him throughout his life. One of these passions was hunting. He received his first gun on his 12th birthday, a single shot Marlin .22 rifle that he treasured, recently refinishing it. His love for hunting was instilled by a long tradition for the Casey family since the early 1900s. Mitch’s grandfather William Casey and friends built a deer camp on Woodard Hill in Waterbury and Mitch got to go to Deer Camp for the first time in 1964, even helping to rebuild the camp the following year. Mitch passed on his enthusiasm for hunting to all of his five children and the need for more space at camp was evident, causing them to expand. An opportunity arose to purchase a camp from Jack and Donna Centonze on Woodard Hill that, even through his illness, Mitch put his entire heart into gutting, designing and constructing a new and improved camp with his sons and his brother, Reed, that would meet all of their needs (including a 60-inch TV!). The new camp had its maiden voyage during the deer season of 2022 and will provide years and years of memories for generations of Caseys because of the traditions that Mitch held dear and shared with his children and grandchildren.   

Another of Mitch’s loves was baseball. Always a talented athlete, and often not giving himself enough credit, Mitch played baseball all throughout his youth, into high school for Harwood where he still holds the record for the single season batting average of .518 and single season stolen base record, now sharing the title with his son, Martin. He started coaching in 1985 when his oldest son, Nick began playing which began a 38-year uninterrupted coaching career where he instilled powerful life lessons for each of his five sons and all of the other players fortunate enough to be coached by him, both on and off the field. Mitch was proud of the efforts of his teams and under his leadership they experienced much success with an overall record of 216-149. The decision to leave coaching following his first cancer surgery was one of the hardest decisions he ever made.  He was recently inducted into the Harwood Hall of Fame and his baseball jersey retired. His legacy as an athlete and a coach is known and appreciated by so many throughout the Harwood community. Coaching was such a huge part of who he was that when the grandchildren started to arrive, he decided that instead of Grandpa, Papa or other traditional grandfather names he wanted to be called Coach. His oldest grandchild Hugh made bracelets for everyone that first year of cancer that said “One Coach, One Team.” Even though his illness necessitated the end of his coaching career, that didn’t keep him from the sidelines of ball fields, pitches and courts, traveling to New York and around Vermont to support his grandchildren.

Mitch was very meticulous. He was well known for keeping all of his possessions in tip-top shape, looking as if they were brand new was another talent. Whether it be washing his latest Ford truck (it was always a Ford), his 20-year-old four-wheeler or the newly acquired side-by-side named “Woody” if there was any bit of dust or mud, you could be sure that Mitch would be hooking up the hose before you could blink an eye.  In the summer, the lawn was always mowed and trimmed. He had a love for organization and an impeccable ability to know exactly where everything was… or should be. If he couldn’t find something, it was usually because one of his five sons had borrowed it and had yet to return it to its rightful place. This attention to detail came in useful however, in one of the hobbies he took up in his final years, making models. He spent hours diligently sorting pieces, gluing, and painting to make these miniatures, one of which being a replica of the USS Independence, CV-62, the aircraft carrier that he was stationed on while enlisted in the Navy as a corpsman from 1973 to 1977.   

Mitch enlisted in the Navy after two years of working at Bolton Valley and EFWall post high school graduation. He knew he needed a new direction but did not have the financial resources to go to college.  His four years in the Navy afforded him opportunities to travel to many ports in Europe and once sailed above the Arctic Circle. With the GI bill he was able to go to school at Vermont Technical College and obtain a degree in electrical engineering. He then worked at Digital Equipment for many years and followed by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Many close long-term friendships were formed during these times.

Mitch’s perfectionism came in handy when packing for family vacations with a carload of seven or more and all of the essential supplies needed for a week of camping on the coast of Maine at one of his favorite vacation spots, Hermit Island, where the state bird is the mosquito and the green-headed monsters (the horseflies) welcomed the Casey family many a summer. He treasured this time spent with family and they began renting a camp from friends Dave and Margaret Morse and Deb and John Magnus each summer on Seymour Lake in Morgan, VT, where countless memories were made fishing from Table Rock, catching crayfish by flashlight, playing extreme croquet, taking “Tours de Lac” and having lobster dinners. Before becoming ill, Mitchell began traveling a bit further from home, enjoying vacations to Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Acadia National Park, and the Rhode Island coast. He also enjoyed a few all-inclusive vacations to Mexico and the Dominican Republic where he enjoyed walking on the beach, being with his family and getting to know the beach bartenders by name. 

Mitch had a gift for gab and could (and would) talk with just about anybody. This trait combined with his dashing good looks wooed the love of his life, Mary Kay (Mikki) Breen. Mitch married Mikki on July 30, 1977, and together they built a beautiful life together that is hard to come by. The couple raised five respectful, talented, successful, loving sons, all of whom have started their own families built on the loving foundation that Mitchell and Mikki modeled so effortlessly.  

Mikki’s patience helped balance Mitch’s, well… lack of patience, and his sense of humor brought just the right amount of silliness and borderline inappropriateness that allowed them to face problems with a positive attitude. This combined with Mitch’s inarguable stubborn streak was what kept him fighting the rollercoaster battle his illness brought on for five years. He did not like to leave things unfinished and he managed to stay strong for his family for as long as he could. He would call this “old man strength” and we all would agree. His family was Mitch’s greatest accomplishment and the pride he had for each of them was evident through the smiles he shared and the happy tears he shed when spending time with them.  

Besides his wife Mikki, he is survived by sons Nick (Ilene), Travis (Julie), Stefan (Margaret), Martin (Lacey) and Michael (Hannah), grandchildren Hugh, Owen, Liam, Ella, Lena, Callan, Isla, Levi, Charlotte, Maeve and newly born Iris. He is also survived by his brother Reed (Donna).

His family would like to express our extreme gratitude and appreciation for all of the doctors and nurses and other staff who have been a part of Mitch’s journey the last five years with us and to all of the extended family and friends who have shown their love and support for both Mitch and his family.  

Tentatively a celebration of Mitch’s life will be held on Saturday, June 15, at Mitch and Mikki’s home in Waterbury. There will be a time for Mitch stories, please share yours if you wish, there are many! In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Waterbury Ambulance, UVM medical or charity of your choice. Both Mikki and Mitch were very appreciative of the attentiveness and care he received on several occasions by the Waterbury Ambulance staff.