Carolyn Louise Pettefer Mitchell (born Carolyn Louise Pettefer) died unexpectedly March 2 at Santa Monica-UCLA Hospital due to complications from a routine heart procedure. She was 71.
Mitchell, a 41-year Malibu resident, was born in Springfield, Mo. on March 8, 1940 to Elizabeth Garbee Pettefer and Joseph Carroll Pettefer. She grew up in Alhambra and graduated from Alhambra High, class of 1958, as senior class president. Mitchell went to University of California, Berkeley and graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature. After graduating, she took on New York City and landed a job at CBS, where she met her first husband, Robert Camfiord. They moved to Arlington, Va. and had two children, Miles and Elizabeth, but divorced in 1967.
After the divorce, Carolyn moved back to California, settling in Santa Barbara. There she reconnected with a childhood friend, Mark Mitchell, whom she married in 1970. The pair soon moved their family to Point Dume.
Mitchell later became a landscape designer through UCLA, and designed many scenic landscapes. She was a naturalist whose unique garden has been featured in publications and on garden tours. Mitchell, a breast cancer survivor, also led many inner-city school children on educational hikes through Charmlee Park.
“Carolyn will always be remembered as someone who lived life fully, was emotionally available to everyone she loved and had an original mind,” Mitchell’s family wrote. “She did not want to bore herself or anyone!”
Mitchell is survived by her husband Mark; her daughter, Elizabeth Camfiord, of Brentwood; son, Miles Camfiord, of Burlingame; her sister Joan Pettefer Rice, of La Jolla, and her family. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Jacob and Anna Herzberg as well as her son-in-law, David Herzberg, all of Brentwood. Mitchell was preceded in death by her two younger sisters Susan Pettefer and Catherine Hart and her mother and father.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the California State Parks Foundation. Funds received will be used to place a personalized picnic table in Mitchell’s memory in one of California’s state parks. When donating, make a notation that the gift is in memory of Carolyn Mitchell.
Donations can be sent to: California State Parks Foundation, Attn: Bonnie Davis; 50 Francisco Street, Suite 110; San Francisco, CA 94133.