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Longtime IGS Employee Vicki Mitchell Dies

May 11, 2017

Victoria E. Mitchell was born April 19, 1954, in Taft, Calif., to Les and Virginia Mitchell, and passed away April 13, 2017. She received her undergraduate degree in geology from the University of California, Berkeley, and moved to Moscow to attend the UI. Vicki joined the science fiction club in Moscow (Palouse Empire Science Fiction Association or PESFA) in 1977, shortly after she started at the UI. The club members, inspired by the fun they had attending conventions in Vancouver and Seattle, decided to start their own. It was quite a challenge for a small town, but with enthusiastic help from UI and WSU students, the convention, MosCon, ran for over 20 years, attracting guests from as far away as Russia. Vicki was heavily involved in the organizing committee, often acting as treasurer. Through PESFA and MosCon Vicki met Jon Gustafson, a well-known science fiction and fantasy art expert and appraiser. They married in 1982.

Vicki was a writer for most of her life. In addition to her professional work as a geologist, she published several science fiction novels and short stories. In 1986, she won the national Amazing Stories Calendar Story Contest. Her first novel, "Enemy Unseen," appeared in 1990 and spent three weeks on The New York Times Bestseller list. It has also appeared in British and German versions. Later books enjoyed similar success. She has been a regular attendee at science fiction conventions and been guest of honor at several in the Northwest.

She spent many years as a staff geologist for the Idaho Geological Survey, until her health forced early retirement. During her career she published dozens of articles and maps. In 2006, she won the Idaho State Historical Society Esto Perpetua award for promoting and preserving Idaho history.

She passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her dogs. She was preceded in death by her husband and parents. She is survived by her two younger sisters, a nephew, several cousins and her dogs, Maya and Kaylee.

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at uidaho.edu