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Katy Community Mourns Morton Ranch Cheerleader Remembered for Friendship and Faith


August 7, 2023

By Natalie Cook Clark

The Katy community will honor and remember Callie Mitchell this week in a visitation and then later a funeral service. The Morton Ranch High School cheerleader is remembered for her joy and kindness. She passed away suddenly the first of this month after participating in cheerleading camp.

Callie Marie Mitchell. All pictures courtesy of the Donahue family.

A True Katy Girl

Callie Marie Mitchell called Katy home her entire life. Last month, the 16-year-old Morton Ranch High School cheerleader was working hard and having fun at cheer camp at Texas A&M. She called home the evening of July 25 to share her joy with her parents.

“You could hear the joy and happiness in her voice,” says Scott Donahue, Callie’s father.

Found Unresponsive at Cheer Camp

On the morning of Wednesday, July 26, Callie was found unresponsive. She was life flighted to Texas Children’s in the Houston medical center.

“I’ll forever be grateful for her cheerleading coach. Her efforts of CPR gave us the opportunity to tell Callie goodbye,” says Michelle Donahue, Callie’s mother.

Callie had suffered a cardiac arrest. According to the family, the cardiologists said she had what was referred to as Long QT syndrome. Even with multiple rounds of CPR, Callie was without oxygen and the injury to her brain was just too much. She passed away on August 1, 2023.

Visitation and Service Plans

Today, August 7, 2023, the family will receive friends from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Schmidt Funeral Home Grand Parkway Chapel (1344 West Grand Parkway.) Funeral services will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, August 8, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church (1515 Hillendahl Blvd in Houston.) Pastor Matt Popovits will officiate.

The family has asked for those in attendance to wear Callie's favorite color, pink.

Callie died in a week where she was doing what she loved, cheerleading. She started cheering competitively in early elementary school and has been a cheerleader for her school since junior high.

Loved Relationships and Friendships

“Callie loved the relationships and friendships she built,” says her dad Scott. “She loved to perform and prided herself in being strong even though she may lack in height. Callie enjoyed being a leader in every team she belonged too.”

Justin Castleberry is a cheer coach with Woodlands Elite Cheer Company in Katy where Callie cheered competitively. He coached her for 7 years.

“Some kids you connect with on a different level and Callie was one of those kids,” says Castleberry. “She brought a joy and a light to the room and to everyone she encountered.”

Castleberry says that he mentored her every Tuesday during her private lessons but in many ways, she was helping him.

Cheer Team Dedicating Season to Callie

“You dream of coaching the kids that you are so well connected with,” says Castleberry. This year that would have happened as Callie just made the Woodlands Elite Miss Militia competitive cheer group. Justin says that the group has dedicated their season to her with the phrase “All 4 Callie.”

“When you coach, you don’t just coach the kid, but you become part of their family,” says Castleberry, who will speak at Callie’s funeral tomorrow as well as serve as a pallbearer.

“We normally get to talk about our kids at senior night,” says Castleberry. “I have so many wonderful things to say about Callie but never thought I’d be talking about her in this setting. It is an honor. It’s one of those things you never want to do but it’s an honor.”

A Katy ISD Family

Callie’s family is strongly connected to Katy ISD. Her mother, Michelle Donahue is an assistant principal at Morton Ranch High School. Her and Callie’s strong connection is why Callie chose to transfer from Tompkins High School to Morton Ranch going into her junior year.

Was Excited for Junior Year at Morton Ranch High School

“In the short time she started attending Morton for cheerleading activities, she had already fallen in love with the staff and students and was overjoyed to start her junior year at MRHS,” says Scott, who is Katy ISD’s Physical Security Coordinator.

Callie loved to cheer and was given the honor of "Honorary Lifetime All American Cheerleader" last week by UCA Cheer. the universal cheerleading association. She also was involved in numerous other activities where she shared her light.

She was a member of National Charity League Star Katy and loved to volunteer in the community, especially at The Hangar and Willow River Farms. Callie had recently started a job working at Villa sports with her brother Luke.

A Strong Faith

Her family and friends describe her as being wise beyond her years in her faith and she was never shy to share it. She attended services at St. Mark Lutheran Church Houston and was known as the teenager that insisted on sitting in the front row at service.

“Callie had a strong faith,” says Scott. “She read her Bible daily and could often be found at Starbucks studying her Bible.”

Callie loved Freebirds, Texas Roadhouse, Chick-fil-A, and queso. She loved attending Great Adventure Camp and serving as a leader in training. She loved her two French bulldogs Eugene and Ruby, who slept in her bed every night.

After high school, Callie wanted to be a counselor because of her love to connect with others.

Callie was raised by her parents Michelle and Scott Donahue. She has two brothers, Colby and Luke Mitchell and three stepsisters Kelsey Robinson, Destiny and Makenna Donahue and stepbrother Alex Donahue. She spent an enormous amount of time with her grandparents Ken and Susan Tucker and Larry Donahue. She has many loving aunts, uncles and cousins. She is proceeded in death by her grandmother Carolyn Donahue and her dog Tucker and Cat Ginger.

Sunshine and Angel

When asked to describe Callie in a word family and friends said sunshine and angel. Callie will be missed by all who knew her.

“We will look for the joy and light in life and know it’s a ‘Callie thing,’” says Castleberry.

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