Dennis D. Mendel: 1927-2021
Dennis D. Mendel was born on a farm west of Freeman, S.D. on June 21, 1927 to Mike F. and Emma (Hofer) Mendel and passed away in Peoria, Ariz., on March 21, 2021 at the age of 93. He married Thelma D. Hofer on June 7, 1952, a relationship of 68-plus years.
Dennis and Thelma farmed for 32 years before selling the farm and moving to Glendale, Ariz. in 1986 where he began a new career with America West Airlines, a young airline four years old. He retired as an Aircraft Tech fulfilling his childhood dream of working around airplanes and then flying to many places with flight privileges for life.
He was active on many community boards and governing bodies in Hutchinson County and various boards of his church, Salem MB, Bridgewater, S.D.
After retiring from America West, he was an expedite driver until the age of 80, moving hundreds of cars, trucks, vans and trailers on one-way trips for snowbirds and others, all while the Lord was his protector with no serious accidents. This took him to 46 states and Canada with 654 flights he counted to 96 cities.
During the 34-plus years Dennis and Thelma lived in Arizona, they attended both Grace Bible and Copper Hills Community Church regularly with Copper Hills being the Mennonite Brethren Conference Church of his youth.
Dennis and Thelma traveled and explored their Hutterite heritage, especially the Mendel and Hofer names, with trips to Ukraine and nine countries in south Europe. They also traveled to Mexico, Hawaii, the seven islands in the West Indies, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Israel, the birthplace of our Savior.
In 2019, Dennis and Thelma moved into Montecito Assisted Living in Peoria.
Surviving Dennis are his beloved wife, Thelma, their children: Lynn Mendel and Denise (Jim) Lockwood of Scottsdale, Ariz., who followed them to Arizona; and Kent (Teri) Mendel of Enid, Okla.; plus grandchildren: Andrea (Jason) Edwards and Travis (Daley) Mendel; and great-grandchildren: Elijah, Ezra and Elissa Edwards of Castle Rock, Colo., and Charlie and Cash Mendel of Edmond, Okla.
Preceding him in death are his parents, Mike F. and Emma Mendel; and two brothers, Mike Mendel, Jr. and Gerald Glenn Mendel.
One of his favorite Bible verses is I Corinthians 2:9: “But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”
A celebration of life was planned for at Grace Bible Church in Sun City, Ariz. on April 8, which can be viewed at www.gbcsuncity.org. Memorial gifts will be directed to Dr. Russ and Melody Ebersole’s medical mission in Togo, West Africa through ABWE (Association of Baptists for World Evangelism).