Jonathan Mendel: 1931-2023
Jonathan Andrew Mendel was born to Sam J and Mary (Wollmann) Mendel of rural Menno, S.D., on April 23, 1931. At a young age they moved to a farm northwest of Freeman, S.D., where he grew up as the oldest of three boys. He received his high school diploma from Freeman Academy in 1949.
Faith in God was a continual anchor for Jonathan. He was baptized June 22, 1947 upon confession of faith in Jesus Christ by Rev D.W. Tschetter and attended Salem MB Church, and then Hutterthal Mennonite Church after getting married. Jonathan served in various capacities in church as well as serving on the boards for Freeman Jr College and Academy, and the local Lions International.
On June 22, 1952 he married Gladys Angeline Hofer in Pioneer Hall on the FJC campus. After three years on the farm they began a term of 1-W service that took them to Newton, Kan., Denver, Colo., and Lititz, Pa. During these four years Jonathan worked construction projects, patient care, groundskeeping and other essential jobs for the facilities to which they were assigned. Many good friendships and fond memories were formed during those years, especially in Pennsylvania where Stephen joined the family. In 1958 they returned to their home community and settled on the farm northwest of Freeman. Their marriage was blessed with two more children, Charmaine and Milton.
During the years on the farm Jonathan pursued a wide variety of business interests alongside the farm including custom baling, spraying, silage cutting and combining, operating a seed corn dealership, a feed store, a restaurant, and other endeavors.
Jonathan and Angie became well-known in the area as owners of The Cornerstone in Freeman. For more than 28 years the restaurant provided a unique gathering place for community meetings and celebrations of all kinds. They thoroughly enjoyed welcoming people to The Cornerstone for a good meal and a good visit. Saturday evenings featured a wide variety of gospel music programs provided by performing groups from throughout the Midwest.
Dad was able to strike up a conversation with anyone he met. He was a regular attender at many local auction sales, and thoroughly enjoyed listening to gospel quartet music and attending local Christian concerts. The Blackwood Brothers, The Gaithers, and The Ambassor Quartet were some of his favorites.
Jonathan Mendel passed away Tuesday June 6 at the Menno-Olivet Care Center at the age of 92. A memorial service is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday, June 19 at Hutterthal Mennonite Church, rural Freeman. Visitation will be at the church on Sunday, June 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. with a time of sharing at 7 p.m.
Jonathan was preceded in death by Angie his wife of 63 years; his parents, Sam and Mary Mendel; infant daughter Cynthia; grandson Brandon Ries; his parents-in-law, Paul E. and Annie L. Hofer; bother-in-law Paul Hofer Jr.; step father-in-law Sam Brockmueller; and step brother-in-law Percy Brockmueller. He is survived by his brothers David (Selma) Mendel, Sioux Falls, S.D. and Gary (Linda) Mendel, Freeman; children: Stephen Mendel, Freeman; Charmaine (James) Ries, Erie, Colo.; and Milton (Julie) Mendel, Freeman; brother-in-law Norman (Darlene) Hofer, Freeman; step brother-in-law Rudy (LaVonne) Brockmueller, Freeman; step sister-in-law Blanche (Leo) Tschetter, Arlington, S.D.; and step sister-in-law Arlyss Brockmueller, Freeman. Also surviving him are six grandchildren: Jillian and Jadyn Ries, and Brooklyn, Emily, Megan and Aubree Mendel; as well as many nieces and nephews.