Omer, Mitch age 61, died unexpectedly but peacefully in his sleep Friday, Dec 18, 2015 after a year-long illness that continued to confound doctors. Preceded in death by parents, Dana and Annie, brothers Mark and Paxton. Survived by wife Cynthia Gerdes, children Casey (Paige), Jesse (John), Lauren, Katy (Chris), Nate; sister Libby (Bob), grandchildren Willow and Axel, and other family members he adored in the U.S. as well as Canada. As founders of Hell's Kitchen, Mitch and Cyn developed a relationship with customers through their cheeky posts, honest behind-the-scenes stories, hair-raising tales in the cookbook, or just stopping by tables to say thanks and hello. The pain felt by family, friends, and the Hell's Kitchen staff is beyond comprehension, but his death during the Christmas holidays is actually quite poetic. Anyone who knew Mitch clearly understood that in his heart of hearts, he truly believed he was THE Santa Claus, and his highlight each year was donning his outrageously blinged-out Santa zoot suit to visit tables with bug-eyed kids. The man that was bigger than life will always be big in our hearts; Cyn may have just lost her once-in-a-lifetime soulmate, but he really belonged to a much, much larger community, so if this outlaw, biker, artist, musician, ordained minister, chef, athlete, hunter-gatherer, author, son, brother, father, and raconteur somehow touched your life, come celebrate with us at Hell's Kitchen this Wed., Dec 23 at 1 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations to any of the following would make Mitch's heart sing: Embarrass Fire Dept (who made the pyromaniac an honorary firefighter), Serena Howe (a young family friend who is single-handedly trying to cover her mother's funeral expenses after recently succumbing to cancer), or Trent Spangler (toward crushing medical bills for a 13-yr old aspiring chef battling cancer... when Mitch heard Trent wanted to meet him, he invited him to be Chef for a Day, but then became too sick, so the staff rallied to make it happen). Checks can be made out to recipient of choice and mailed to Hell's Kitchen, 80 S 9th St., Mpls 55402.

Published on December 20, 2015

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