DAJD mourns long-serving head cook

Submitted by the Department of Adult & Juvenile Detention (DAJD)

Claro “Ed” Mitre was a beloved figure in the kitchen at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, where he had worked as lead cook/baker since the facility opened in 1997.

The father of seven had started working at King County jails soon after he retired from the U.S. Navy. That was back in 1979. And earlier this year, at 86, he was still keeping up his dedicated routine. Sadly, Mitre passed away on Monday, May 16. He had worked his regular shift the previous Friday.

“I enjoy what I do and the people I work with,” he said in 2020, when he was quoted in an employee newsletter. “I will continue to work until I can no longer do it.”

Mitre wasn’t the only colleague King County jail employees lost this May.

Corrections Officer Lorenzo Jones, Jr., who began working as a corrections officer in 2001 and was primarily assigned to the King County Correctional Facility in Seattle, passed away on May 7. Colleagues remembered him as a “energetic, positive, friendly” and a loving father. Additionally, two active DAJD employees died in 2021: Officer Steven Ishikawa, with 30 years of experience, on April 15, and Officer Keith Gorman, with 26 years of experience, on Dec. 15.

Grieving the loss of a co-worker is never easy. Support is available through the King County Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Making Life Easier Program (MLE). Other resources may be available through your department.

Six-plus decades of experience

Ed Mitre’s career in food services for King County jails spanned more than 42 years. Prior to being assigned to the Kent jail, he worked in both the King County Correctional Facility in Seattle as well as the old jail above the King County Courthouse. He had been a lead cook and baker since 1982.

The son of a goldminer, Mitre’s dream growing up was to travel the world. After graduating from the Philippine Nautical School in Manila, he received an internship as a merchant marine officer on a cargo ship delivering supplies throughout Asia.

After completing his internship in 1957, he was accepted into the U.S. Navy as a seaman. His military career often kept him away from home, and he longed to spend more time with his family. He retired from the Navy in 1977.

Mitre was a widower, and is survived by his seven children, grandchildren, and a large extended family. He recently welcomed the arrival of his first great-grandson.

He enjoyed coming to work, often being the first to arrive for his 4 a.m. to noon shift.

He is described by his co-workers as “dedicated,” and one remembered him calling from a hospital bed once to check on the status of his food orders. They remarked that “his professionalism to his job and co-workers were only matched by his work ethic.”