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In Memoriam: Mel Mendelssohn

SY WEISSMAN| Mel Mendelssohn
SY WEISSMAN PHOTO| Mel Mendelssohn

Mel Mendelssohn, a significant contributor to the cultural life of Shelter Island, died peacefully in his sleep on Friday, October 2, 2015.

Mel, a resident for over 20 years, had been a professional fundraiser for colleges and charities, and he used this talent as a leader in raising funds for the creation of the Island Fitness Center.

He was, with Howard Brandenstein, the instigator of the Movies at the Library 11 years ago, and the writer, director and star of a number of short musical theater shows presented in library auditoriums on the East End. He sang with the Shelter Island Community Chorus, the Peconic Bay Masterworks Choir and was a longtime member and officer of the Choral Society of the Hamptons. Mel performed in the Bella Notte shows on the Island and in the popular Nativity presentations at Christmas.

In his youth in Brooklyn, Mel was an accomplished baseball player and later a very good tennis player here. He was an ardent Mets fan.

His interests were many; music was a passion. For a few years he traveled to Stony Brook University to take music courses, and he loved the opera, often attending the televised shows from the Met at the John Drew Theater with  his wife, Suzanne. He also played the recorder and enjoyed playing with a group of like-minded enthusiasts.

Mel had a strong social conscience. He was a vocal advocate for social justice and was not shy about sharing his opinions. He loved Shelter Island deeply, and he enjoyed attacking the garage and tag sales with Suzanne on Saturdays before spending the rest of the day visiting friends or relatives, or going to a show, concert or lecture.

Mel Mendelssohn was a good and kind man, and his sunny, cheerful and caring way will be dearly missed by those many who loved him as a friend.
— Jack Monaghan