On the eighth day, God looked upon His paradise and said, “I need a caretaker,” so God made a farmer.
Eli Mandel was born Dec. 8, 1919, in Yale, S.D., of German Hutterite Mennonite parents, who immigrated from Russia as master farmers in the late 1800s. One of eight children, Eli would lose his father to pneumonia when he was nine years old. Eli finished the eighth grade and would later have to leave school to help his brothers tend to the farm for his widowed mother and family. In just one year, they would endure the Great Depression.
Eli accepted his Lord and Savior at an early age and was baptized in the James River. He exemplified the life of Christ by loving and caring for others continuously throughout his entire life.
At age 24, Eli said, “Enough of this being a farmer in face of this Depression, Lord, I’m joining the Army.” So God made a soldier.
In 1944, Eli was inducted into the 96th Infantry and joined “The Deadeyes” in the 383rd Regiment. He fought under General MacArthur and was awarded the Purple Heart and Oak Leaf Cluster, being wounded twice in the battle of Okinawa.
At age 27, Eli said, “Enough of this being shot at, bomb shelled and sleeping in cold, wet bunkers. I’m marrying a hot farmer’s daughter, Rosie, and moving to California to become a movie star.” So God made a husband and father.
Eli met the love of his life on a blind double date in South Dakota and married Rose Landseadal in 1946 and moved to Dinuba, Calif., where their two sons, Jude and Jan, were born. Eli was ready to care for and provide a comfortable life for his wife and family by utilizing his sales and management skills, So God made a furniture salesman.
Eli worked for Mathis & Bollenger and Just Furniture. In 1962, the Mandel family moved to Merced, Calif., where he worked for Saunders Furniture Store. Eli and Rose both sang in Merced First Baptist Church’s choir.
In 1973, Eli, Rose and Jan moved to Arizona where Eli worked for Mayo’s Furniture. In 1974, Eli said, “I’ve had enough of the Furniture Business. It’s time I become a Real Estate Super Star.” So God made a real estate salesman.
Eli’s son, Jude, always wanted the family to own their own business so he moved to Tempe, Ariz., married Nancy Owens and opened a Real Estate Company, Mandel & Associates, and an Interior Design Company, Creative Environments, which Nancy ran. Eli and Jan got their real estate license and dad became a Real Estate Super Star by farming subdivisions of homes instead of crops.
In 2007 after 61 wonderful years of marriage, Rose passed away.
Both Eli and Rose cherished many special memories with their grandchildren, Nicole and Ryan, and daughter-in-law, Nancy Owens, now living in Colorado. They loved their great-grandchild, Nevaeh, and daughter-in-law to be, Colleen Ferguson.