By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report
A beloved grandparent, husband, military officer and inspiration to a generation of young students died today at 78 following a fire near his home in Amissville, Va.
Family members report that retired Air Force Col. Ivan G. Mieth was discovered by his son-in-law following a sweeping brush fire around 5 p.m. today. An autopsy will be performed in Manassas.
Col. Mieth was perhaps best known locally as the Commandant and Chief of Staff of Randolph-Macon Academy, a co-educational boarding school with a strong Air Force JROTC program which Mieth headed from 1984 to 2005.
Prior to moving to Virginia, Col. Mieth served in the Air Force for 29 years including a tour in Vietnam from 1966 to 1967.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
I am so saddened by this horrible news. Col. Neither was an extraordinary man. He will be missed by so many. My deepest condolence to the family.
OMG, I’m also truly sadden by the news of Col. Mieth. He touched so many lives at R-MA. He was father figure to so many of us. He will be greatly missed. My prayers and condolences go out to his family.
This man made the world a better place by having been in it….no truer words could be spoken about him meaning so much to a generation of students. I can only imagine that he was as effective as a leader of men during his active duty years…and he could teach a thing or two about positive and transformational leadership to today’s military leaders. He led with a firm, but fair and gentle hand. He inspired. He fostered ingenuity, and he valued kindness. I will miss him so very much.
This world is a better place because of Col. Mieth. He had such a positive impact on young people, in many ways, that some still don’t realize yet. He taught by example, and he walked the talk.
Some believe he was the ghost of Sonner Payne and had eyes behind his head! He had a way of just appearing.
I will never forget how he would come in my office, pull up a chair and say, “hey, little Rickert, got a moment?” and, he never stayed a moment, he would sit, chat and wind up talking about life events.
He was a very dear friend of our family, especially with my husband Dave, who was a “junior” Colonel to him.
To Brenda and the family, may God be with you and comfort you. Thank you for sharing Col. Mieth with so many over the years.
He was a leader, a listener and inspiration to so many young people and always fair in his guidance of them. My Condolences to the family.
As both a US Soldier and RMA Alumni I am very sad to hear this news. He was a great mentor and leader.
So sad to hear this news. He was great during my days at RMA. May his soul rest in peace, my condolence to the entire Mieth family.
When my daughter and son attended R-MA he was a mentor to both of them. I always enjoyed chatting with him and was thankful for the guidance he gave to Scarlett and Rick. He was a good man and will be missed
He will be missed. He always had something witty to say. What a wonderful man. Prayers to all.
So saddened to hear this news. What a great man that did so many great things for many, many people. The Mieth Family and the R-MA community will be in my thoughts and prayers. RIP Col Mieth, you’ll be missed by many.
What a man! It is the loss of some of the last real men. He was God’s gift to so many. He was a gentleman and a brother. His compassion for those who needed it most was extraordinary. He was an instructor of the highest caliber, on life and values . He was the truest example of always respecting others at all times, if you want respect you give it first. We loved and respected him very much! His mark on our lives will live on! Much LOVE COL.! Many thoughts and prayers to Tawana and the family!!! We love y’all!!
I was saddened to hear the news about Col. Mieth. He was a wonderful man. As a parent of an RMA alum, I saw the impact he had on the kids entrusted to his care. Col. Mieth cared deeply about those kids. He was an excellent leader and mentor. I looked forward to talking with him each time I was on campus. He will be missed. My heartfelt condolences to Brenda and the family…..and to all whose lives were touched by this one of a kind man.
Col. Ivan Mieth was an extraordinary man, a gifted and exceptional leader, and a dear friend of mine for many years. He was one of the last of a breed of leaders who combined strength with compassion, knowledge with understanding, and unwavering loyalty with common sense. When I was in my Sonner-Payne office on weekends, numerous visitors always passed through, and the first question they always asked is, “Is Col. Mieth still here?” In a way, he will always be here with us.
It is hard to fathom how many hundreds, if not thousands of lives he touched with his wonderful charisma, mentoring, and fatherly advice. He will be sorely missed by so many for so long. RIP my friend.
We’re going to miss you Col. Mieth. You impacted my life and many others for the good. Condolences to the Mieth family.
You will be missed Sir!
Col. Mieth is one of the top 5 influences in my life. He cared about every kid that came thru R-MA’s doors. I returned for my 10 year reunion in ’02. He remembered me, my room, and quite a few stories. He truly cared about everyone he met.
Few can say they have touched so many lives, but Col. Mieth will always have that honor.
My heart goes out to the Mieth family. Our love and prayers go with them.
He was a good man with a twinkle in his eye. He always made time to be kind to me, even on his busiest of days keeping the peace at R-MA. Rest in Peace, Col.
in my 1 year at RMA I never talked to Col. Mieth. but I knew he was respected and well-liked as a leader and school official.
I have to say thanks for providing me with a relatively good experience at the school in 1999.
Such a loss. Col. Mieth’s particular brand of wry humor was just what the doctor ordered, so, so many times. In the short time I was at RMA, I came to admire him a great deal. He will be sorely missed.
High flight, colonel.
Even though I was only @ RMA for 1 year, Col. Mieth made a very big impression in me. I am truly saddened to hear the news of his passing. He will remain in my thoughts as he has for the past 16 years. Rest In Peace Colonel. I wish the world had more man with your character, compassion and charisma. You will be sorely missed by many, Sir! My deepest and most sincere condolences to the Mieth Family and the rest of the RMA Family.
Sitting in Chapel for the first day of school at R-MA, Col. Mieth stated, “if you get mad while you are a student at R-MA DON’T (booming voice) go pick a fight, instead ram your head up against a tree!”. That was 1992 and I still think about that advice as an adult. The impression that Col. Mieth left on all of us as students at R-MA will never be forgotten. My heart goes out to his family.
Col. Mieth, what a wonderful and effective leader. I enjoyed working with him during my time at RMA. He was always busy taking care of business at the school but when he passed someone in the hall he would take time to speak and share that sweet, gentle smile. What a great man.
Col Mieth was a great man who will be missed. I remember him always being fair during my three years at R-MA. My thoughts are with the family.
Sad about the Col.
What happened to you on FB?
Col. Mieth was a great man, leader, mentor, and he made a big difference in many young peoples lives. His legacy will live forever in the lives he has touched. We will miss you. May God be with you till we meet again. My prayers are with your family.
Working with Col. Mieth (for 19 years as a teacher,4 years as a parent when our daughters attended RMA, and 3 years as Tawana’s teacher) gave me many insights into this friend which I treasure. He cared deeply, worked tirelessly, encouraged constantly and was well-respected. My prayers are with Brenda, Tawana and the rest of his family. May you be flooded with God’s comfort and with happy memories.
Earth’s lost, heaven’s gain….thank you Lord for the service, frankness, humanity, wit and friendships that Col. Mieth choose to be his path.
I was saddened to learn of the passing of an inspiration to so many, and my friend, Ivan. Col Mieth was an amazing person. With a near photographic memory, he knew every cadet, their parents, their hometowns and every detail about them. His sense of humor and the stories he would tell were legendary. Ivan always had time to stop and talk, to visit, and to care. We are all better for knowing him. To Brenda, Tawana and the rest of the family, my deepest sympathy. To my friend and colleague Ivan….thanks for the memories.
Col. Mieth was an inspiration to me and many others. I often think about who had a positive impact on my life and how I got to where I am today. Col. Mieth always comes up as one of those people who steered me in the right direction. He was one of those men whose wise words will always be with you. It was a privilege and an honor knowing him.
Fred! And all the other “old” students. SO good to read your wonderful comments. Best wishes to Col Mieth’s family AND to all of your former coworkers and students.
Irene “The Mad Seamstress”
I was deeply saddened by the news of Col Mieth’s passing. We worked together closely for eleven years from the class of ’86 through the class of ’96, he as commandant and me with the AFJROTC department. He cared deeply for the school and even more so for the students. We shared so many good and sad times together. I will never forget the 10 pm Sunday night phone calls during the early years when he would recount the events of the weekend and sort of give me a “heads up” as to what we were facing on Monday at school. He was a proud graduate of Texas A&M, an outstanding Air Force officer, a true Texas and Virginia gentleman, a loyal and proud husband, father and grandfather and the closest friend and associate I was privileged to have in my life. Brenda, Tawana and family, he will always be alive in our memories – just keep on keepin on… You are in my prayers at this time of saddness.
Col Reed, sir I remember you very much as much as Col Mieth, may he rest in peace.
Thanks for the reply. I do remember you in the early days of our time at R-MA, seems like it was with the color guard or one of the drill teams. We retired from R-MA in 2005 and now live near San Antonio, Texas. Life is great here and we love it. What are you up to these days.
Best wishes from Mrs Reed and me.
Col. Mieth was the epitome of an Air Force Officer, a distinguished pilot, great mentor, and above all…a gentleman. I always attempted to model myself after him and when I was successful never seemed to go wrong.
I had a great hour-long conversation with him on his birthday in January and we talked about him coming to R-MA for the Class of 87′ twenty-fifth reunion in October. He was really looking to re-connect with the members of our class and see how everyone was doing.
I am heart broken at this loss and my thoughts and prayers are with Brenda and his children.
-Paul Lawrence 87′
We have always felt it an honor to have worked with such a kind, yet firm man. COL Mieth was like a father to a lot of the students at R-MA and he truly cared for everyone. He was always willing to listen and to help you in any way that he could. Our years spent at R-MA were made better because of COL Mieth. Our sympathy to Brenda, Tawana and family.
I lost my best friend in the world. I worked for and with Col Meith for 16+ years at RMA and for Him personally. He left me with so many stories and some we created together. We had many good and even some bad times together. He was the kind of friend that every one should have and I am already missing Him dearly.
Brenda and Tawana, my prayers are with you and I will see you soon.
I am awfully sorry to learn of this terrible news. Col. Meith was a true officer and a gentleman. During my years at R-MA, whenever he passed me in the hall or outside somewhere, he always said hello or something cheerful or humorous. Years later, I would look forward to seeing him at Homecoming because he would greet me that same way, always by my first name. He was a great influence on me. Whenever I think of R-MA, I will always think of him.
Mike Garner ’86
This is a tragic loss. My sincerest condolences to his family.
He truly served his duties well-projecting essential and timeless characteristics required of leaders – integrity, responsibility, and accountability. His mentorship and leadership was certainly worth well more than was paid in tuition.
To confer with my first flight commander Mike Garner above, I saw him march past during an Apple Blossom Parade after being gone for 7 years, and after gaining his attention from the side of the parade route greeted me by first name.
He was absolutely a critical force of influence on my professional trajectory. While disturbed by his passing, I’m glad I was appreciative of the opportunity to be in his midst while at RMA. I’m a grateful and better human being for having known him. He was one of our finest.
Mike Starling ’88
My mother Ludmilla and I are very saddened by this terrible news. Col. Mieth was very nice and friendly to us when we came to this country from Russia almost 22 years ago. He especially helped my mother, who hardly spoke any English at that time, by simply being nice, encouraging, and supportive. She worked with Col. Mieth for 15 years until she retired. We both have the fondest memories of this extraordinary man who touched so many lives at R-MA of both students and faculty. Our sincere condolences to the Mieth family.
I can honestly say, he was the most fair and just man to oversee the cadets of Randolph-Macon. He was so well respected, and like a father to most. In between the bad times, he always found a way to see it in a positive way to learn and grow. Never once, did I feel that I wasn’t safe, secure and well looked after. His guidance helped shaped me into the person I have become today…. a teacher, mentor and a very focused and determined individual to also give back to others. I always have the best spoken words about him, and my experiences at RMA. The best learning experiences of my life existed when I attended RMA…. One thing that I can remember with fondness, is when I would have to go see him for my allowance each week. He would always take the time to ask, “How are things going?” That was kind of a loaded question, because I would tell him exactly how things were, mostly mixed in with a little drama, which then he would crack his famous smirk. His smile is what I looked forward to the most. My sincerest condolences to the Meith family. His passing is such a great loss and he will be greatly missed.
Justine Tumminia ’88
I remember in my 1st month at R-MA when he passed me in the hall and said my name when I don’t remember ever meeting him yet.
For those of us who had the honor of knowing this man will understand that the world has lost great man.
Thank you Col. Mieth for your advice and thoughts throughout my time at R-MA.
David Saunders ’97
Colonel Mieth was an incredible human being.
He had such passion for R-MA and helping all of us as students and cadets. To say he was an amazing leader and inspiration to all of us is an understatement. May he rest in peace. We will always love you Colonel Mieth!!
Class President ’99
Col.Mieth was a great influence in my life,he taught me how to be thick skinned and kind at the same time,He was a father figure to me at a time when I needed a positive influence in my life.He will forever have a place in my heart and I will continue in life utilizing the teachings he bestowed upon me.My sincere condolences are with the entire Mieth family
WOW!!! R.I.P. COL MIETH!!!! THIS IS CADET 1929. AKA: CHRISTOPHER PENDARVIS. 2ND LT. 1986!!!!!!!!!!!!! WORDS CANNOT EVEN EXPLAIN OUR RELATIONSHIP!!!! WHEN I FIRST ENROLLED AT RMA IN 1985, I GOT PINK SLIPS UP THE ASS!! WALKING TOURS EVERY WEEKEND!! COL MIETH LOOKED ME IN THE EYE SINCE DAY ONE!! HE TOLD ME ” PENDARVIS, YU CAN DO THIS THE EASY WAY, OR THE HARD WAY”. WELL, BEING FROM BROOKLYN NEW YORK, I ACTUALLY CHALLENGED HIM. I WILL TELL THE WHOLE WORLD ONE THING, IF IT WAS NOT FOR HIM, I WOULD NOT BE THE PERSON THAT I AM TODAY!!!!! HE USED TO ALWAYS CATCH ME DOING SOMETHING WRONG ONCE IN A WHILE. BUT EVERYTIME HE WOULD TEACH ME A LESSON!! MY SECOND YEAR AT RMA, HE PROMOTED ME TO 2ND LT, AND GAVE ME MY OWN SQADRON. I’M TALKING WHITE GLOVE INSPECTIONS, NO FACIAL HAIR, SHOES SHINED, ETC.ETC. HE WILL ALWAYS BE IN MY HEART, AS WELL AS ALL OF MY CLASSMATES, AND ALL OF MY TEACHERS!! ESPECIALLY MR. SCHULTZ WITH THAT DAMN ALGEBRA!!!! I ALSO MISS COACH BONO!!! HE IS FROM NEW YORK CITY LIKE ME!!! R.M.A. : REMEMBER ME ALWAYS!! CHRISTOPHER PENDARVIS 1986 XOXOXOXOXOXO
I happen to be commenting to let you know of the fantastic encounter our girl encountered using your web site. She came to find so many details, including what it is like to have an amazing teaching nature to let most people effortlessly fully understand specified impossible subject areas. You undoubtedly exceeded our own expected results. I appreciate you for imparting these powerful, trustworthy, explanatory and as well as cool thoughts on the topic to Jane.