James Brian Mendenhall
February 7, 1977 – January 1, 2019
James Brian Mendenhall was born February 7, 1977. James died on January 1, 2019 from a cardiac arrest. James grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. He and his parents later moved to Eugene, Oregon followed by another move back to Omaha. He went to Creighton Prep School in Omaha. Shortly after high school, he worked and lived in Seattle while attending and graduating from The Art Institute of Seattle. His final destination was Portland. He received a Bachelor’s Degree from Portland State University. James’ death was preceded by his grandparents Elma Brooks, Vern and Dorothy Mendenhall , as well as his parents, Steven Mendenhall and Joyce Hall.
James lived in Portland and worked for VetSource. James’ passion was music. He was in several bands performing throughout Portland and Seattle and even toured. His bands were: “Sansei”; “The Prom”; “Death Cab Cutie”; and most recently collaborating with “Audits”. James was a singer, he played guitar and piano and composed much of the music played by these bands under the Barsuk music label. James leaves behind many family and friends that loved him and will miss his smile and his gift of music. The expressions of love from his family and friends since learning of his death, has been overwhelming and heartfelt.
Family includes: Aunts & Uncles: Mary Bennett & Cathy Baugh in Oregon. Judy Anderberg & Debbie Tavernier of Texas. Connie Pigman & John Mendenhall and Mary Mendenhall from Nebraska. Linda Waugh from Iowa and Larry Brooks of Nebraska. Cousins: Chris Bennett, Jason Bennett, Melissa Pettitt, Jennifer Russell, Jack Baugh, Laura Wilson, David Mendenhall. Nikki Villwok, Stephanie Lippincott, Sarah Mendenhall-Hike, Michael Pigman, John Pigman, Mark Mendenhall, Miki Flanagan, Marcie Roddy, Matt Mendenhall, Sydney Brooks, Haleigh Brooks, Jordan Brooks, Jason Moural, Robert Moural, Robert Tavernier, Daniel Tavernier, Paul Tavernier, and Travis Anderberg.
Friends: Just to name a few include: David Broecker, Vic Padios, Joel Brown, Tim Fleeger, Adam Smith, Miles Patterson, Julie Moffett, Ross Davilia, Naomi Miclea, Mike Burnett, and Lacey McCarley.
A graveside service will be held on February 7th at 12pm at Finley Sunset Hills Memorial Park, while a celebration of James’ life is being planned for June of 2019 in Portland. For more information you can contact his aunt Mary Bennett at MaryBennett67@comcast.net
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Finley Sunset Hills Mortuary
6801 SW SUNSET HWY
James Brian Mendenhall
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January 16, 2019
I met James through my partner Julie. I remember making an unplanned trip to Cannon Beach to see sea stars that were exposed at low tide around Haystack Rock. I had not known him for long at the time, but he welcomed me and treated me as if I was already part of their friendship. On the drive back, I remember James spotted a dear running along side the car. He slowed down so that Julie and I wouldn’t miss it. Later, Julie filtered through the photos she took, settling on one with three sea stars hovered together. Each an amazing different warm color, glossy and thick against the green anemone and texture of the rocks. We all claimed to be one of the three.
Since then there are countless other moments I remember fondly. Walking along the river at Sellwood Park. We built a fire from scratch and just talked into the night. James was so easy and calming to be around. He played the piano for us and some worn boxes in his storage unit one day. I sat on the bench next to him transfixed by how naturally his hands moved over the keys.
My deepest condolences to anyone that was lucky enough to share moments with him. I will miss him.
January 11, 2019
James always believed in me. He brought out the best in people, and brought us together.
I would like to thank his family members for their part in shaping him into the wonderful person he was. I will miss my friend.
January 9, 2019
James was an amazing human. He was the best I could have asked for at being a cousin, at being a friend.
He was always there for me, and didn’t let anything I was going through cloud his opinion. He and I had many real, in depth conversations. When a lot of my family shut me out, he let me in. He saw me.
James and I would talk music for hours. I could be real about what I really thought. When his dad passed, I remember James holding me while we both cried into each other’s arms.
It is unimaginable still that he is gone. He wanted so much for me, and I know he’s proud, even after passing away from this life.
James will always be apart of my life. I will always remember him—for his kindness, wit, musical talent, realness, humanity, and snark.
Love you James. Say hey to my grandpa for me.
January 9, 2019
James’ most recent band was Audits, with my husband Tim, and Miles and Adam. They practiced in our basement just about every week. I loved the music they wrote together. Some of the guitar harmonies sounded like a throwback to Thin Lizzy in the best possible way. The nights where they were running through their written songs felt like putting on a favorite record.
He came over while we were decorating our Christmas tree to grab some something from the band room and hung out listening to the holiday music we were playing while decorating. We ended up singing along together and he was hitting all the harmonies in that Paul McCartney song, “Simply having a wonderful Christmas time”. He had an amazing voice and often randomly broke out singing whatever song was on his mind.
Another night we were out with some friends at a bar. He knew I just had a rough week and gave me one side of his headphones. The two of us were in our own world - each of us had a side of his earbuds on - and geeking out sharing some of our favorite songs with each other on his phone and singing along to them in the middle of a crowded bar. We probably looked ridiculous but we were having too much fun to care. That’s a small part of what it was like to be friends with James.
Bands are kind of like small families between the members and their significant others. We lost a dear friend and he will be greatly missed.
January 8, 2019
My most sincere condolinces and greatest sympathy to you and your family with the loss of James. I want you to know that James was appreciated in his life for being him and all that it meant. He will be missed. He had a profound impact on my life. And while at times we had our differences and lost touch, he was always with me in my memories of the crazy and close times we had. I feel so fortunate to have spent the day with him last March; of course not knowing I would never see him again...
(Former schoolmate, roomate and bandmate in Sansei.)