Bill Mendenhall

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of CEM Professor Emeritus Bill Mendenhall.

1956 Bill Mendenhall with student
Bill Mendenhall with a student, 1956

From Dan White, UAF Chancellor

UAF College of Engineering and Mines Professor Emeritus Bill Mendenhall died this morning, surrounded by his family. Bill gave UAF more than six decades of service as a faculty member, mentor and supporter. He remained active in CEM even after his 2005 retirement. In recognition of this outstanding legacy, UAF honored him with a Meritorious Service Award in 2014. My condolences go to Bill’s family, friends and colleagues.

 William -Mendenhall -April -2014
Bill Mendenhall, April 2014

From Jeff Cook, Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation (GFCHF)

It is with sadness I announce that Bill Mendenhall, the last founding member of the Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation (GFCHF), passed away at 4:15 this morning in the hospital he helped create and build.  He was surrounded by his three children when he passed at age 97.  He was predeceased by his wife Nancy.  Though an emeritus GFCHF board member, Bill continued to attend board meetings and construction committee meetings whenever possible.  Bill had an incredible career as an educator at UAF, as an engineer and as a community volunteer.  Bill never quit learning and doing.  On his 90th birthday he left the Sunriser’s Rotary meeting early to attend continuing education classes in order to renew his engineer’s license.  Bill always had a smile and a good word for all.  People were naturally drawn to his charm and genuine goodness.

Bill and the other founding members of the GFCHF are the reason we have a first class community owned hospital, not one owned by a government entity or large corporation.  They beat the odds and took some brave steps in 1968 when they took over St. Joseph’s Hospital and set out to engage a hospital manager and then raise funds to build our community owned hospital.  Bill was there when the ground was broken for Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and there when the original FMH structure opened at the current location in March of 1972.  Bill has put in thousands of volunteer hours over the years as FMH has grown and expanded, always to better serve the medical needs of Fairbanks area residents. 

Though it is with sadness we mark Bill’s passing, we also offer gratitude for a long life well lived.  Bill was a special and unique person who gave and gave, never expecting praise or anything in return.  He will be missed but never forgotten for his role in leaving our community so much better as a result of his dedication and service.  It is fitting that Bill passed away in the hospital he so greatly loved and served.  His family expressed their gratitude for the care and compassion Bill received at FMH in his last few days.  Our sincere sympathies  to Bill’s family, sons Bill and Jim and daughter Susan West.  We will let you know of any plans for a celebration of life for Bill.

Plaque _252

Bill Mendenhall classroom, Room 252 in the Duckering Building at UAF