Johann “John” Leonhard Mendel of Shaftsburg, MI passed away on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at the age of 58. After several months of “moving forward boldly”, battling cancer for a second time, he passed away peacefully in front of his favorite window with his wife, son and daughter by his side. In his final weeks, he repeatedly said “we’re very fortunate” and was grateful to be at home under the care of his family and Sparrow Hospice.
John was born on March 23, 1962, at St. Lawrence Hospital in Lansing, MI. After growing up in Perry schools, he married his high school sweetheart, Shelia (Rodgers) Mendel, on June 5, 1982. He raised his family and passed away in the same house he grew up in. He was a painter and wallpaper hanger by trade, leaving his mark across Mid-Michigan with his specialty work in notable places; including the Michigan State Capitol, Sparrow Hospital, Sparrow Hospice House, Michigan State University, Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, First National Bank of America (“241”), Delta Dental, Auto Owners Insurance, and historical homes in his area.
He survived his first battle with lung cancer two years ago and cherished his time thereafter. He filled his days with family, fishing, cooking, gardening, and household projects. The last room he painted was his childhood bedroom, which he painted with his son two months before passing. He had a meager upbringing, and made sure that nobody left his home hungry in his adult life. He was notorious for asking “Anybody want a ham sandwich?”, even after sharing a big meal that he lovingly prepared. He will be remembered for his welcoming heart and generous spirit.
John was preceded in death by his parents, Leonhard Mendel and Ottilie (Dittmann) Mendel, brother, Jeffrey Eugene Mendel, and daughter, Jenna Brooke Mendel. He is survived by his beloved wife, Shelia G. Mendel, and children, Jeffrey Leonhard Mendel and Lydia Brooke Mendel. A memorial service to honor and celebrate his life will be announced by Watkins Brothers Funeral Homes, Perry Chapel. People wishing to carry on John’s gratitude for his hospice care experience can make donations to Sparrow Hospice Services.