|Death: ||Dec. 27, 2009|
Craig is a member of a very special family. His maternal grandmother, June Schultz, recently passed away at age 105. She had played the organ at our church until she was 99. Please read his obituaries to get a small taste of what he was like.
Sergeant Craig Scott Mendenhall
Sergeant's death hits Portland police hard
Fellow officers are stunned by the sudden death of Sgt. Craig Mendenhall, a well-liked Portland police street supervisor who died Sunday after suffering a massive heart attack at his home on Dec. 20.
Mendenhall was 38. He leaves his wife, Teresa Carpenter Mendenhall, three sons, ages 9, 8 and 4, and a daughter, 3.
"Everybody remembers his positive influence. He just set an example of what officers should be like -- one of those cops everybody looked to for guidance," Officer Mike Gallagher said.
Mendenhall was one of two sergeants who helped lead the Hot Spot Enforcement Action Team, known as HEAT, a hard-charging group of officers created in the summer of 2008 to move across the city and target gang-related violence Most recently, he was assigned to the transit division.
Co-workers said Mendenhall, whom some called "Mendi," was level-headed, unassuming and known for his smile. His death has been jarring to many because of its suddenness and no family history of heart ailments. In fact, Mendenhall seemed conscientious about staying in shape and practiced martial arts, police said.
Transit Police Cmdr. Vince Jarmer recalled that Friday, Dec. 18, was Mendenhall's first assignment on day shift as transit sergeant, after having worked afternoons and evenings. Mendenhall was excited that the shift would allow him to spend more time with his children.
"We chatted at the end of his shift, and I remember saying, 'Yeah, see ya Monday," Jarmer said. "Of course, that didn't work out. There was no indication of anything. This was totally out of the blue."
Mendenhall proved himself not only as an officer, but as a supervisor -- and one who officers who worked alongside him in the transit division didn't mind reporting to later as their sergeant, Jarmer said.
"That's quite a feat," Jarmer said. "He could do it because he was fair and established relationships with people, not only on a professional but a personal level. He was trustworthy, would follow through on what he said he was going to do, and had a good sense of humor. He was fun to be around. He's the guy that we would like to clone."
Mendenhall grew up in Longview, Wash., graduated from Toutle Lake High School in 1991 and Eastern Washington University in 1996. He joined the Portland Police Bureau in October 1996, and worked mostly transit police and Southeast Precinct. He was promoted to sergeant in November 2005. He became a member of the bureau's Crisis Intervention Team -- officers trained to defuse volatile situations involving people suffering from mental illnesses -- before it was required.
The 37 commendations in his personnel file indicate Mendenhall, from his years as a patrol officer, didn't just respond to emergency calls, but became engaged in the cases, interviewed victims, took detailed descriptions of suspects and pursued calls to an arrest. In one case, he diagrammed a crime scene before detectives arrived.
In 2003, the Chief's Forum, a group of community representatives who met regularly with the chief, gave Mendenhall a special recognition award for safely disarming a suicidal suspect in January 2003. The award recognized his communication skills.
The bureau also awarded him its Life Saving Medal for providing immediate medical care to a suspect he and another officer shot after the man, armed with scissors, assaulted a woman, attempted to carjack an occupied vehicle and then charged at police. The medical care saved the suspect's life, the award says.
Jarmer said Mendenhall worked hard and demanded it of his officers.
"He was never flippant about his care for people -- not only cops that he worked with, but the citizenry," Jarmer said. "He had an unassuming character, but he got the job done and required excellence from the people around him."
Jarmer said he still doesn't accept what happened.
"It's almost like I still can't believe it," Jarmer said. "It's a shame."
Mendenhall's Facebook page photos also depict a family-minded father, posing with his children in photos taken at Crater Lake and the California Redwoods, and with his wife on vacation in Mexico this year.
On the page, Officer Susan Billard described him as a "bright light taken too soon."
SOURCE: "The Oregonian", Portland, Oregon; Published Dec. 28, 2009
Craig S. Mendenhall
Craig Scott Mendenhall, 38, died Dec. 27, 2009.
He was born Dec. 19, 1971 in Tacoma, the son of Mike and June Mendenhall. He grew up in Longview, where he attended Kessler, Northlake and Olympic Elementary Schools.
After attending Monticello Middle School and R.A. Long High School for two years, Craig and his family moved to Silver Lake. Craig graduated from Toutle Lake High School in 1991. He rose through the ranks of the Boy Scouts, earning their highest award - Eagle Scout. Craig's lifelong dream was to have a career in law enforcement as either a sheriff or police officer. As a teenager, he participated in the law enforcement explorer program with the Kalama Police Department. Craig later attended Eastern Washington University, where he earned a bachelor of arts in criminal justice.
While in college, Craig worked for the Forest Service, fighting fires and later serving as a national park ranger. It was during this time that he met Teresa Carpenter, whom he married in 1998.
Craig's interests included martial arts, golf (preferably not keeping score), camping with his family, and motorcycle riding.
Craig was hired by the Portland Police Bureau in October 1996. He was a well-respected officer, treating people fairly and with compassion. In 2005, Craig was promoted to the rank of sergeant and assigned to Southeast Precinct. He quickly earned the respect of his peers and co-workers. From there he worked with the Hotspot Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), and his most recent assignment was as a sergeant with Tri-Met.
It was during this time that Craig and Teresa moved to Battle Ground and had their four children - Brent, Todd, Nate and Ohana. Craig's interests soon changed and his focus was the children and family life.
Craig will be remembered for his love of life, infectious smile, patience, and as a well respected leader with the Portland Police Bureau.
Survivors include his wife, Teresa; his children, Brent (9), Todd (8), Nate (4) and Ohana (3); his parents, Mike and June Mendenhall of Silver Lake; brother Michael Mendenhall of Longview; as well as two grandmothers, several aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Crossroads Community Church, 7708 NE 78th St. Vancouver, WA. A tribute to his life was published Dec. 29 in The Oregonian and can be read online at www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/12/portland_police_stunned_at_sud.html
Layne Funeral Home in Battle Ground is in charge of arrangements.
SOURCE: "The Daily News", Longview, Washington; Published Jan. 1, 2010
Maintained by: Harlene Soper-Brown
Originally Created by: Jan
Record added: Dec 29, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 46107639
Dear Craig, Thank you for your service. Your family has been in our hearts and prayers since we heard of your untimely death. Now you've been reunited with your Grandma June. May God bless all those you left behind.|
Added: Jun. 22, 2010
Added: Dec. 29, 2009