Born in Chillicothe, Mo., June 4, 1925, Ben Mendenhall began a life that would forever center on serving and supporting others. He would be the guiding light to six younger brothers and sisters, proudly serve his country as an able Marine in World War II, support and cherish a wife and daughter with boundless love, heal thousands upon thousands of patients for more than 60 years as a chiropractor, and serve the citizens of Nevada, Mo., as a City Council member and two-time Mayor.
"Dr. Ben," as he was affectionately known, was always more interested in you than in himself. He wanted to know what you were doing. He wanted to know how he could help. He was sincere. He wanted what was best. He got involved. He made things happen. He made a difference.
His civic and professional accomplishments were many. As Mayor, Ben was instrumental in the passage of a $20 million industrial revenue bond that paved the way for 3M Corporation to locate a manufacturing plant in Nevada. He was also chairman of a citizens committee that led to the passage of a $19 million water bond election. The Nevada Rotary Club honored Ben as its 1979 Citizen of the Year. Ben was Chairman of the Nevada Housing Authority, a member of the Economic Development Commission, and a member of the Nevada Industrial Commission.
Ben was a member of the American Chiropractic Association, the Missouri Chiropractors Association, and was a Diplomat of the National Council of Orthopedists, one of the highest degrees attainable within his profession.
While Ben was immensely proud of his civic and professional associations and accomplishments, the light of his life was his wife Ruth and daughter Susan. His family was extended when Susan married Bob Longmire in 1985 and grandson Alex was born in 1988. Alex, and Ben's "other grandson" Andrew Broyles, were his greatest joys. He was a devoted grandfather: Involved, supportive, infinitely proud. Ben was a perfect father-in-law: Accepting, adviser, friend.
Ben is also survived by three sisters, Jean Patzner and her husband, Joe, Sigourney, Iowa, Martha Wescott, Denver, Colo., and Lynne Coleman and her husband, Jerry, Platte, City, Mo.; numerous nieces and nephews including the following in the Nevada area, Nancy Ragan, Kathy Hallam, and Julie Ogden. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Ruth; two brothers, Max Mendenhall and his wife, Jean, Hayward, Calif., and Howard Mendenhall of Florida; and one sister, Joann Jenkins, Nevada.
Ben always looked forward. Something good and interesting and challenging was always on the horizon. Always.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 9, at the First Presbyterian Church, Nevada, with the Rev. Hubert Fox officiating. Interment will follow in Newton Burial Park, Nevada. Friends may call now and until noon on Thursday at Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada.
Those who wish may contribute to the Dr. Ben and Ruth Mendenhall Memorial Scholarship in care of Ferry Funeral Home, 301 S. Washington, Nevada.
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