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Dr. Zenobia Mitchell-White

Dr. Zenobia Mitchell-White, age 87 of Des Moines Iowa, passed away on November 9th 2020. She was born to the late Willie Joe Reid and Johnnie Jones Reid in Arkansas on February 16, 1933. Zenobia was a God-fearing Christian, there was no better person that embodied the word ‘Saintly’. She dedicated her entire life to God and she bore witness to her belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Zenobia attended Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas before attending Drake University of where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Sociology. Besides being active in a variety of civic functions she also filled her life with creative splendor as well as making beautiful visual and literary art.

Zenobia taught in the Des Moines Public School System and was a social worker within the Des Moines State of Iowa Welfare System where she saw the plight of indigent inner-city women. That is when she decided to start a center where women could move from welfare to the work force and become self-sufficient.


She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane letters from Drake University for founding the One’s Self Actualizing and Communication Skills Center for Women (O.S.A.C.S) and she received the Sertoma Award for dedicated service to mankind.


For her societal contributions, she was appointed the 84th Point of Light by President George Bush Sr. for founding OSACS. The President extended his deepest gratitude to Zenobia White for her recognition of a serious social problem and her selfless work to solve it. Zenobia was then given the YWCA Women of Achievement Award for the same accomplishment.


Zenobia was preceded in death by her parents, Willie Joe Reid and Johnnie Jones Reid of Brinkley, Arkansas and by her late husbands Harold White and William Mitchell. And by her siblings Arelius Reid, Willahmina Saunders, and Franklin Reid. Her surviving siblings are brother Melvin Reid, Eld. T.C. Reid, Evangelist Barbara Dogan, and Robert Reid.


She taught her children to first believe in “Salvation and Education”. Her surviving children with their spouses include La Claire (Bruce) Nzerem of Collegeville PA., William Mitchell (David Stokes) of Van Nuys, CA., June Mitchell of Royersford, PA., Harold White of Chicago, Il. Camille Cachoa and Cris Jon White, both from Des Moines, IA. and Grace Ann White of Orlando, Florida. She is also survived by five grandchildren, Chima Nzerem, Pierre Nzerem, Kyla White, Timothy White, Chidera (CJ) Anigbogu, and three great-grandchildren, a host of nieces and nephews.

In her last years of life Zenobia was lovingly cared for by her Daughter Camille of Des Moines, Iowa.


Being mindful of people's health during the pandemic, Zenobia's family is honoring her life with a private funeral ceremony.



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