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Ben Mendelson: Long Beach uncle 'made himself known in small, meaningful ways'

Ben Mendelson, seen in an undated photo, immigrated

Ben Mendelson, seen in an undated photo, immigrated to Long Beach from Australia. Credit: Mendelson family

Ben Mendelson was a quiet, unassuming man loved by co-workers who appreciated his kindness and hard work, and by family who were often reminded of his devotion in selfless acts that might otherwise be easily overlooked. 

He would babysit for a nephew; housesit to look after pets while his niece or nephews and their families were on vacation; and clip articles from newspapers to send — helpful hints, bits of advice.

As nephew Barry Friedman of Washington, D.C., said of his uncle, a Long Beach resident who died of COVID-19 on March 27 at age 81: “He made himself known in small, meaningful ways, little exhibitions of thoughtfulness and generosity that show the depth of their imprint in the light of his passing.”

Mendelson was born Aug. 11, 1938, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, the son of Ann and Samuel Leb Mendelson, religious leader of the South Brisbane Jewish Congregation. As a youth, Mendelson was active in Betar, a Revisionist Zionist youth movement, and was editor of Haderech, a journal for Jewish youth, distributed throughout Australia and New Zealand.

As a young man, he served with distinction in the Australian army, then followed his sister, Ann, a war bride, to Long Beach, where he first lived with her and her husband, Morris, the local postmaster.

Mendelson worked as a computer specialist for Sachs Quality Stores, originally Sachs Quality Furniture, and later worked with the Israel Discount Bank in New York City.

For the last 20 years of his life, Mendelson worked as supervisor of mail at the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, known as Claims Conference, in New York. He was active in community affairs, serving as an officer and later president of Temple Beth El in Long Beach.

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Besides his nephew Barry, Mendelson is survived by nephew Sheldon Friedman of Long Beach; niece Roberta Friedman and her son, Harry, of Manhattan; and relatives in his native Australia.

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