her Life

Some are healed on earth...All are healed in Heaven

We call on you, Jehovah-Rapha – The God who Heals and the Defender of our Heart.

This is the story of Violet’s life. It is a story of hurts and significant loss. However, a story of unconditional love, support, strength, courage and unshakeble faith in God. Some events were told to us over the years by Violet herself and some experienced by close members of her family, Booker Range, Carrie Matthews, Jasmin Scott and Danita Mitchell. We believe that If Violet could speak today, she would urge her family and friends, to get help and not give up on their fight to stop the cycle of drugs and alcohol addiction. To also speak out against and overcome the cycle of sexual, physical and mental abuse. Most importantly, to seek God to truly understand the message of the Cross. Ultimately, there is great victory in this story and in Violet’s life through her Sister, Carrie, her children, grandchildren, great grands, nieces, nephews and other family members. By sharing this, the family prays that it does not shame anyone, but blesses all who reads it.

Violet's birth and early years in Kannapolis, NC

Violet DeCarlo Mitchell Range was born August 3, 1951 to James Mitchell and Kathleen Tidwell in Kannapolis, NC. Violet was taken out of the care of her mother at a young age by Grandpa Joseph and Grandma Alberta Tidwell because her mother Kathleen became addicted to alcohol. Violet’s mother Kathleen Tidwell died at a very young age. Kathleen left two daughters behind Violet DeCarlo Mitchell and Carrie Lee Matthews. Kathleen’s death was tragic and sudden as a result of the use of alcohol.  This along with other childhood abuse and trauma would impact Violet for a lifetime. Nevertheless, Violet had a big heart and a soft spirit.

Birth and surrender of first born, Danita

Her first love was Kenneth Williamson of Kannapolis, NC. Out of this union, her first daughter, Danita Mitchell was born. In Violet’s own words, Danita was her heart, her life, her firstborn child. Violet was fourteen then and was not married to Kenneth. Because of this, Violet at the direction and decision of her Grandparents was urged and forced to give Danita up for adoption. However, Kenneth was awarded custody of Danita, and Violet surrendered her over to his family at only 3 days old. This devastated her. Following this significant event, Violet’s life seemed to take a turn for the worst.

Violet's first marriage and life in Charlotte, NC, birth of Diane and Andrew

Violet dropped out of school and moved to Charlotte during her youth to live with her father, James Mitchell. During this time, Violet turned to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate from the emotional pain and guilt of not being able to raise her first child.

Violet would eventually meet and marry Alfred Smith Jr. They had two children. The late Diane Mitchell and the late Andrew Smith. During their relationship, Violet was physically and mentally abused. She continued to self-medicate to cope with her life. According to Violet, the abuse was severe, so severe that she feared for her life. She made the decision to leave the marriage and also made the heartbreaking decision to leave behind her two children, Diane and Andrew. They would soon divorce and Diane and Andrew would be raised by Alfred and his family, but eventually would end up in foster care.

Violet's 2nd Marriage & Life with Denis in Tucson, AZ, birth of Booker, loss of son, Andrew

While estranged from Alfred and their children, Violet would meet her husband, the late Denis Range in Charlotte, NC. They would have one child Booker Niles Range. They would move to Tucson, Arizona. Her late husband Denis was a prominent engineer and had dual citizenship here in the USA and England. He was also amazing as Violet. 

The move to Tucson would appear promising. However, Violet, still coping with the pain and guilt of not being able to raise her other children and past life hurts, would ultimately turn again down the path of alcohol and substance abuse. She did spend several years sober during the early years in Arizona, but even in all her years of self-medication, she loved people, she loved kids, she loved music, and she liked to sing to her great niece, Aliyah. She loved sports, and she loved helping those in need.  Above all, she loved encouraging people. Violet also loved tennis. She played tennis competitively for a while and won many awards. She also coached tennis alongside her late husband, Denis. Violet and Denis developed a racket stringing business on the side of his engineering career. Violet was extremely intelligent and had a lot of business savvy. She would communicate with their wealthy clients and coordinate most of the business and also string the rackets herself. Their business would eventually solely provide services to prominent members of an upscale country club in Tucson. Violet was a sports fanatic. Her favorite college team was University of Arizona basketball. She enjoyed cooking and she was big into health, fitness and eating right during her time of sobriety. 

Violet would eventually learn that in 1991 her youngest son, Andrew had been accidently killed playing with a gun while in foster care. Andrew was 17 years old at the time. This set her back tremendously and she started drinking more heavily again.

Violet and Danita Reunite. Reconnect with family in Charlotte, NC

There was a long-awaited bright spot, however, in 1994. Violet out of the blue received a phone call from her daughter, Danita. Danita had not been able to have peace in her own life without knowing her and had located her through her Aunt Zetoria, in Kannapolis, NC. After numerous phone conversations, Denis flew Violet to Charlotte, NC to spend time with Danita. She spent a year there getting to know the daughter that she had to give up at 14 years old. Violet also reconnected with her father, James Mitchell, and her second daughter, Diane, during this year. Even so, she still could not overcome the pull of alcohol and drug addiction and repeated the same cycle in Charlotte. Because of this, Danita strongly urged her to return  to Arizona to Denis where she seemed to be able to stay more sober. Violet would return to Arizona and continue her life with Denis. Danita and Violet were still able to develop an extremely close mother and daughter relationship through phone calls and frequent letters and cards. Violet would pour her heart out to her and Danita would comfort and pray for and with her. Danita would answer her phone call sometimes 3:00 or 4:00 am, and they would cry together over Violet’s story of her biggest regret of not being able to raise her.

Loss of husband Denis and daughter, Diane - Battle with addiction

In 2004, Violet suffered the loss of her husband Denis from cancer. Denis was the one person on earth who always stuck beside Violet and was the steady, consistent person in her life. He loved Violet unconditionally in spite of her flaws and addictions. The family would say he stuck to her literally like white on rice. This is not an understatement.  Denis would not leave Violet. He always tried to help her. Losing Denis for Violet was indescribable. Danita, explained it the best, losing Denis was just as traumatic for her as when she was forced to separate from her first loves, Danita and Danita’s father. Violet seemed not to be able to recover from the loss of Denis. She not only turned more to alcohol and drugs, but started a life of homelessness.

Again, tragically and unexpectedly in 2008, Diane, Violet’s second daughter, would die from drug and alcohol abuse, just as Violet’s mother, Kathleen did. Suffering from another significant loss, Violet would spiral even further into her life of drugs, alcohol and homelessness. She repeated the cycle of checking into rehab several times, only to find herself back on the streets within days or weeks of starting the programs.

Violet's fight with throat cancer, Carrie's commitment to stand by Violet

Around 2014, Violet was diagnosed and overcame throat cancer. Homeless, God healed her. Carrie, her sister, stood by her through her cancer treatment although Violet chose to stay without housing most of that time. In spite of, her faithful sister, Carrie, stepped in where Denis left off. Carrie never gave up on her sister. She always left the door open for her to come in off the streets if she wanted to. And kept the lines of communication open between Violet, Danita and all other family members. She would often drive from Phoenix and go to the streets and desert and find her, especially on holidays and make sure she was inside her home during birthdays, Easter and Christmas. At Carrie and Danita’s frustration and dismay, Violet would always return to her homeless lifestyle soon after. Carrie eventually moved back to Tucson where she would be closer to Violet and kept the connection with her and her daughter Danita.


God's Grace and Mercy over Violet's life

Though Violet chose to live in the desert of Arizona in spite of Carrie’s open invitation live with her, Violet still never lost her faith in God. She spoke to Danita and family of her faith frequently, especially during the times she was fighting her biggest battles with her addictions. Even in the streets and desert of Arizona, God always protected Violet and she would often admit that boldly. He saved her life many times. She survived cancer, she almost drowned in a flood during her homelessness but was rescued. Once Violet was found lifeless and thought to be frozen from the cold desert weather. Paramedics said when they found her, they surely thought she wasn't alive. They miraculously was able to revive her, and contacted her sister, Carrie. Violet was never physically harmed by anyone even though she was exposed to some of the worst conditions of the Arizona streets and cold nights in the desert. Through it all, God answered the prayers of her family and kept her safe! Violet’s throat cancer would eventually return and the continued use of drugs and alcohol on top of living without shelter would eventually be more than her tired body could continue to handle.

Violet's unshakable faith in God and family

Without question, Violet was still an amazing and beautiful woman. She had mustard seed faith and showed it. Violet’s story amazingly is not over. Her  love and courage lives on in this memorial, through her living children, Danita and Booker, her grands and great grandchildren. Violet was a fighter, a survivor, and above all, a believer in Jesus Christ. He was her Lord and Savior and at the end Her Redeemer! Her Redeemer lives to take away her pain, Her Redeemer Lives to take away her shame, Her Redeemer lives forever She proclaimed!! God always answered Violet in her time of desperation and never left her. She always proclaimed her love for Jesus in whatever state or situation she was in.  Violet touched everybody's heart that knew her. She made people smile, laugh and sometimes cry.  We could always count on her to send us that famous peace sign in pictures to family.  In everything, no demon from hell could break her spirit and her faith in God. She carried her Cross. Now she is in Glory with God and Jesus. No more pain Violet. Great Job!

Violet surrenders to her family's wishes

Over the years, her family members would urge her to seek treatment and medical care, to stay in rehab and most of all give up her homeless lifestyle. On Christmas Eve, 2019, Violet made the decision to seek medical care and surrendered to the wishes of her family members. She admitted herself into the hospital. On January 4, 2020 while in Hospice Care in Tucson, AZ, God sent His Angels and brought His daughter back to Heaven. She can now rest in the arms of Jesus with no condemnation, guilt or shame.
Violet was preceded in death by mother Kathleen Tidwell, her father James Mitchell, her children Andrew Smith and Diane Mitchell, her Grandparents  Joseph Tidwell Sr and Alberta Tidwell, Aunt Juanita Hammonds, Uncle Joseph Tidwell, Uncle Titus Tidwell, Aunt Zetoria Tidwell, Uncle Ponce D.Tidwell,  Uncle Garland Tidwell, Uncle Charles Melvin Tidwell and Johnnie Tidwell
Violet leaves behind her oldest daughter: Danita Mitchell of Charlotte, NC, her youngest son Booker Range of Seattle, Washington.
Her grandson: Darius Mitchell, Charlotte, NC and granddaughter, Sonja Mitchell, Hampton, VA
Her great grandkids: LaMya, Kyrie, and Kaiden Mitchell of Charlotte, NC
Her sister: Carrie Lee Matthews of Tucson, Az.
Her first nephew Zane Alexander Jr. Tucson, Az
Her first niece Jasmin Zetoria Scott
Many Great Niece and Nephews
Her Aunt: Marva Tidwell of Passaic, NJ
Cousins: Alfred Hammonds,Carolyn Hammonds Tyson, Myra Hammonds Ward, Michael Hammond, Jr., Steve Hammonds, Sr. of the Washington D.C. and Virginia area; Stephanie Tidwell of Passaic, NJ; Ponce de Leon Jr. of Indianapolis, Indiana;  Great Cousins: Joshua, Kendall, and Ponce Tidwell III, also a host of 2nd and 3rd cousins
One of her closest friends: Lori Lanier of Wichita, Kansas.