Jean Comins Mitchell was born in Kingston, New York, and graduated from high school in New Bern, North Carolina. She attended the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) from 1939 to 1943 and received her degree in food and institution management. After graduation she interned at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Mitchell enlisted in 1943 as a member of the Army Medical Corps. She went through basic training at Fort Meade, Maryland, and was then stationed at Valley Forge Army Hospital in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, as a dietitian. In late 1943 she was transferred to Deshon Army Hospital in Butler, Pennsylvania, and in 1944 was sent to McGuire Army Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, where she remained until May 1945. Mitchell was transferred back to Walter Reed Army Hospital until the end of the war in 1945.
In September of 1945, Mitchell married and moved to Martinsville, Virginia. She worked for a year as a dietitian at a hospital in Virginia. After her children were grown she ran her own catering service.