When she wasn’t busy teaching precocious third graders, she was rescuing stray animals and collecting food and clothing for a local orphanage. In fact it is almost impossible to walk through the halls of Yokota East Elementary School and not see something that Ms. Mendel hasn’t touched.
In her 34 years at Yokota, Joan managed to create a legacy that is sure to last forever. She came to Japan more than 40 years ago and, after teaching for a few years at Johnson Elementary School, she transferred to Yokota Elementary School. When Yokota East opened in 1973, Joan was one of the first teachers to staff the school.
Joan touched so many lives in the Fussa area of Japan. She conducted Mt. Fuji trips, headed up Children’s Day festivities at Aiji-No-Le Orphanage, planted flowers on the school campus.
Although she never had any biological children, Joan served as parent, mentor and friend to literally hundreds of children.