Francine "Fran" Mendler Lake

May 30, 1949October 10, 2020

Francine “Fran” Mendler Lake, native of New Orleans, passed away on Saturday, October 10, 2020 at the age of 71. Survived by her husband, Jonathan M. Lake and 5 daughters, Jennifer Graver (Michael), Lori Ceyhun (Haluk), Erin Friend (Asher), Meredith Petrone (James) and Julia Jacobson (Stephen) and fourteen grandchildren, Loren, Max and Josh Graver, Jace and Levi Ceyhun, Ari, Eli and Ezra Friend, Jonah, Aimee Tess and Charles Petrone, and Liam, Jack, and Ellie Jacobson. She is also survived by her brother, Joel Mendler (Toby); sisters-in-law, Lorraine Lake Williams and Marilyn Lake Neumann along with nieces, nephews and cousins. She was the daughter of the late Margot and Leopold Mendler. Fran graduated from Fortier High School and received her Master’s degree in Education from the University of New Orleans in 1972. She taught special education as well as grades kindergarten through twelfth grades. She was the lower school principal of Ridgewood Preparatory School of Metairie, LA. Fran loved traveling to visit her family and was present for every momentous occasion. She loved playing and winning board and card games and she enjoyed cooking, especially with her grandchildren, and experimenting with new recipes. Fran was President of the New Orleans Chapter of Hadassah and received the Woman of Valor Award in 2007 and the Southern Woman Valor Award in 1997. She received the Bernard Mintz Award for the Anti-Defamation League in 2010 and the Avodah Partners in Justice Award in 2018. She served on the boards of Jewish Family Service, Jewish Children’s Regional Service, Jewish Community Day School and Beth Israel Congregation. She was a member of Congregation Gates of Prayer and National Council of Jewish Women. She rarely said no when asked to volunteer and her greatest attribute was involving others in her volunteer efforts and projects. She loved going out for breakfast, lunch and dinner and was always ready to try a new restaurant in New Orleans. Her claim to fame was that there was not a restaurant in the city she had not tried with family and friends. She was the glue that helped everyone stay close and bond tightly. Her philosophy was inclusion. She was appreciative of her loyal, caring and loving family and friends that made it “all about her”. Her life was a blessing to all of us. A private graveside service will be held. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the New Orleans Chapter of Hadassah, Congregation Gates of Prayer, or the charity of your choice. To view and sign the family guestbook, visit


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Francine "Fran" Mendler Lake

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Francine "Fran" Mendler Lake

have a memory or condolence to add?

Steven Wolf

October 18, 2020

There are so many to share, but perhaps my all time favorite has to be the look on Fran's face after she and Jonny drove from NOLA to our cabin in north GA bringing with them a delicious home made 3 lb corned beef which the privacy of our kitchen afforded the opportunity for black lab, Buster, to consume without our knowledge.....

Most importantly, the persistent memory of smiles, caring and unencumbered expressions of love.

Reda Scher

October 16, 2020

How is it possible that the vivid picture of my dear friend Fran Lake whose image lives so realistically in my mind is no longer here? She was always there to support her family, friends and “causes”. Whether it was to become a life member of Hadassah, take tennis lessons and play tennis games, walk around Audabon Park and stopping for coffee when we finished, sharing recipes, breaking the fast, having a Seder, or participating in her many volunteer activities, she had a way of bringing me into her circle of interests and friends. As a newcomer to New Orleans she gave me the joy of her friendship and the comforting feeling of belonging. I cherish the many wonderful years of our time together.

Saundi Casey

October 14, 2020

Dear Johnny,
I was devastated to read about Fran's departure. Please accept my sincere sympathy. I knew Fran from my parents who were good friends with her parents. Fran used to play with me and her juke box on Louisiana Ave. Pkwy. I used to get all her hand me downs. Johnny, I am so sorry for your loss. Fran was a wonderful person who accomplished very much. She will be missed by my family.
With lots of love, Saundi

phyllis hengst

October 12, 2020

The service for Fran was so very loving and special.
I will always treasure your friendship and the wonderful times we had together.
Fran, your team did it for you!!!!!

Ronna and Robert Burger- Berman

October 12, 2020

So grateful to be neighbors for years, wishing we had found more time together and had more ahead. It's always wonderful seeing the close and loving family drawn to Fran's warmth and liveliness, admiring her contributions to the community and the friendships that clearly belonged with them. We hope all your recollections of life together, Jonny, and the world of family and friends you two created around you, will bring some consolation and support in the face of this loss. May her memory be for a blessing.
Ronna and Robert

Phyllid Feran

October 12, 2020

I have known Fran since nursery school. So many wonderful memories and good times. Rest In Peace my friend.
Jonny, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May her memory be a blessing.

Phyllis Feran

October 12, 2020

I have known Fran since nursery school, Wilson, McMain and Fortier. So many wonderful memories and good times to mention. Rest In Peace my friend .
Jonny, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. My deepest sympathy.
Phyllis Sobel Feran
Leslie Feran Cohen

Rochelle Adler Effron

October 12, 2020

When I was new to the community and timid about being a Yankee in NOLA, Fran welcomed me and made me feel at home. I am honored that she considered me her friend and proud that she was mine. Mark and I will miss her joyousness and humor. Her passing has left a hole in our lives.
May Hashem comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

jerry jacobs

October 12, 2020

We have lost a good friend , a woman deserving the designation.....
a woman of valor
Jerry Jacobs

Craig Coughlin

October 12, 2020

Fran was a loving cousin and extremely gracious and with her hospitality. Whenever she and Johnny were in town, we knew we were about to have a good time. I enjoyed our long conversations about education and about how she and my mother and aunts used to get into trouble with their parents.

Regardless of how we we’re related, it made no matter to Fran. We were kin, and that is all that mattered to her. She always asked how I was as doing when we spoke, and not just about my mother or sisters. She took a sincere interest in others and wanted to genuinely share their company. She will be missed.


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