Everett Mitchell was an American gospel singer and radio innovator.
Growing up impoverished, Everett wore his sister’s hand-me-down shoes to school. When working as a child, Mitchell spent his first nickel to buy bread for his family. However, despite working several jobs and being part of the Quaker lineage, Mitchell became one of the great gospel singers. He had learned dozens of hymns at a very young age and was part of the church chorus. Gypsy Smith, a prominent evangelist, noticed Mitchell and hired him as a soloist for Smith’s revival service at Pacific Garden Mission in downtown Chicago. Mitchell continued his singing at Winona Lake for four summers.
After high school, Mitchell took a job as a clerk at First Trust and Savings Bank. There, he met Mildred, a bookkeeper, who later become his first wife. After getting married, both realized that their salaries could not support a family, so Mitchell worked at Continental Casualty Company as a claim adjustor while singing part-time at radio station WENR. When his supervisor at the insurance company found out about this, he told Mitchell either leave radio or be fired. Mitchell quit the company and never looked back.
Working full-time at WENR, he started singing classical music, gospel and jazz. For this, he became popular with the audience, a first in his radio career. One of his classic hits was “Letters to Santa Claus.” He was a guest on the late-night talk show, Bedtime Stories for Chorus Girls. He also made history by writing and delivering an early radio commercial, selling Christmas trees by the thousands.