Remembering Joe Mendenhall
We mark with great sadness the passing of Joe Mendenhall, a Council member of 20 years who was honored as our International Educator of the Year in 2009. He began teaching German at L.D. Bell High School in 1995. In addition to sponsoring one of the most active Junior World Affairs Council clubs, Joe supported L.D. Bell’s International Baccalaureate program. He was an active volunteer in our International Visitors Program and, over the years, attended 322 Council events. Our staff and his fellow members were always happy to see Joe.
Born an Air Force brat, by the age of 14 Joe had lived in Japan, Germany, and the UK as well as four states in the U.S. He was a graduate of UT Austin with a B.A. in German and Slavic languages and a master’s degree in East German cultural politics with a minor in Soviet and Eastern European politics. Joe circumnavigated the globe at age 23, traveling to Alaska, Japan, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Bombay, Dubai, and Germany. He was an avid sports fan and worked as a German and Russian interpreter at events such as the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. He taught German at L. D. Bell High School in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford I.S.D. for 26 years, retiring in 2022. He also taught at the Free University in Berlin and in Chetumal, Mexico as part of the Rotary International Teacher Exchange. Additionally, he studied Spanish in Costa Rica and Russian in St. Petersburg, Russia.