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MPA Foundation’s Janet Mendler Passes at 75

Janet Mendler

The MAB has learned about the passing of former Michigan Press Association Foundation Director Janet Mendler.  Mendler died April 26 at age 75 following a battle with cancer. |

Mendler graduated from Dearborn High School in 1963 and earned a BA degree from Northern Michigan University and a Master’s in Journalism from the University of Michigan (U-M). Janet loved journalism. She taught journalism in the Livonia Public Schools, worked for The Marquette Mining Journal, The Dearborn Guide and The Ann Arbor News. A U-M Center for the Education of Women internship led to a 20-year career at the News Service, where Mendler directed state media relations. She was devoted to the Michigan Press Association, Michigan Press Association Foundation, Michigan Interscholastic Press Association and Central Michigan University’s Journalism Hall of Fame. She served several terms on the Historical Society of Michigan board, which provided opportunities to travel to numerous historic locations.

Posting on the foundation’s Facebook page, the MPA Foundation said Mendler “was a tireless advocate, first as a teacher and then via her work for the Michigan Press Association Foundation, where she shepherded many MIPA teachers into newspaper summer internships and helped students earn Foundation scholarships to attend MPA’s summer workshop. Janet was a former MIPA board member, the 1982 recipient of our Golden Pen Award (tour mashup of a teacher of the year/lifetime achievement award), and 1985 John Field Award winner as a friend to scholastic journalism.”

She is survived by her husband John; nephews Kevin (Nancy) Koehler, Eric (Diane) Koehler, Michael (Elizabeth) Nellis and Rob Nellis; nieces Kristin (Andy) Graves, Julie Nellis and Scout Nellis; many great nieces and nephews; and sister-in-law Nancy Abramson. Janet was preceded in death by her parents, sister Nancy and brother Jim and a great nephew.

Memorial service plans are pending. Donations in Janet’s name can be made to the Michigan Press Association Foundation, 827 N. Washington Ave., Lansing, MI 48906 or online at

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