Joseph Thomas Mendola

January  24th, 1929 February  10th, 2024
Rochester, Westport, Italy, Sarasota
Joseph Thomas Mendola

"If we are good people, good things will happen to us, and we can make the world a better place."  -JTM

Obituary

Joseph Thomas Mendola, passed away on February 10th in Sarasota, Florida, at the age of 95 with his daughter and sons by his side. The youngest of three children to Pasquale and Santina Mendola, he was born on January 24th, 1929, in Rochester, New York.

Joe was the son of parents who both immigrated to the United States from Agrigento, Italy. He was born during the first year of the Great Depression, growing-up with his sister Pauline and brother Anthony in Rochester. His father worked as a fabric cutter in clothing manufacturing, and Joe attended high school at The Aquinas Institute of Rochester, where he developed his skills as an artist. Not having the financial means to attend college, he worked as a window designer for Rochester’s largest department store. Soon thereafter he was drafted into the Korean War and served in the US Army. Upon returning from the war, he utilized the GI Bill to attend Syracuse University, where he was the president of the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon, graduating in 1956 with a degree in art. Soon after graduating, Joe moved to Westport, CT and was an art teacher at Bedford Junior High School, where he met Patricia Farrell, who taught at Coleytown Elementary School. They married in 1958 and had five children.

Joe was proud to be the son of Italian immigrants and to grow up in the Depression, never feeling that the economic adversities of the time slowed him down. Instead, it forged his unstoppable determination to succeed. He would famously tell his children and grandchildren that when we face challenging times, there is only one option which is to “make it work”. With that attitude he founded Mendola Artists in New York City in 1960, a company that represented a roster of commercial illustrators providing commissioned artwork for the world’s leading advertising agencies and publishing houses. Joe was an innovator in the promotion of creative talent and a strong advocate for the artists he represented. His charismatic personality helped forge lifelong friendships with illustrators and art directors at numerous clients including Hasbro and the Reader's Digest. He would grow the company to become one of the largest artists representation firms in the world. Mendola Artists still thrives today, owned, and managed by his sons Timothy and Thomas. Joe spent his retirement years splitting time between Pietrasanta Italy and Sarasota Florida. While in Sarasota, he met the second love of his life, Susan Rauch. Joe and Susan shared a zest for life and brought happiness to everyone in their presence.

Joe instilled in his family and friends the importance of a positive attitude, strong work ethic, and to continue making new friends throughout life. His final message to all, which he will be remembered, is that if we are good people, good things will happen to us, and we can make the world a better place.

This proud man was deeply beloved by five children, ten grandchildren, one great grandson, and three nephews. He is survived by Timothy Mendola of Wilton, Connecticut, his wife Kristin, and their children Kelly, Katherine, Maggie, and grandson Jack; Thomas Mendola of Norwalk, Connecticut and his children Thomas and Georgia; Kathleen French of Boulder, Colorado, her husband Scot, and their children Hannah and Alex; Christopher Mendola of Bridgeport, Connecticut and his children Eleanor and Lucas; and John Mendola of Hood River, Oregon and his daughter Annabella. His surviving nephews are Lawrence Capizzi, Andrew Mendola, and Gary Mendola.

Joseph was predeceased in death by his parents Pasquale and Santina, sister Pauline Capizzi, brother Anthony Mendola, niece Mary Ellen Mendola, and ex-wife Patricia Farrell.

The family will hold a memorial ceremony at a date to be determined.

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February 28, 2024
Joe was a true original, and I was fortunate enough to work with him for many years before he retired. Smart, funny and driven, he embraced life, work and family with a gusto that I have rarely seen. His love for his family was deep, and he was so proud of all of his children and grandchildren. He was a champion of the artists that we represent, and had close relationships with many of them, as well as with his clients. I am thankful for his long and full life, and for the impact he had on the lives of so many others.
Nancy Moore
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