Don Bendel, a Flagstaff resident, artist, and educator since 1970, passed away on Sunday, March 24th. He was 83.
Don was born in LaCrosse, WI in 1935 to Victor and Farrell. He served in the Navy and graduated with various degrees from Winona State College, the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and ASU.
In 1956, Don married his high school sweetheart, Ann in LaCrosse. They had three children.
Don began teaching at NAU in 1970. In 1984, he brought Dr. Yukio Yamamoto to NAU. This resulted in construction of the two Tozan kilns at NAU, which he began building without permission. Don's art and teachings took him around the world, and his pieces can be found in collections in many countries.
After "retiring" in 2000, Don also taught part time at CCC, supported local artists, attended his longtime congregation, Peace Lutheran Church, ate ice cream with his family, was a friend of the crows, and overall was "pretty good alright".
Don was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters, a brother, a son-in-law, and his darling Ann. He is survived by three sisters; three children: Mara Anderson, Jon Bendel, and Sara (Keith) Ryan; six grandchildren: Ian, Megan (John Meyer), and Erinn Anderson, and Molly, Alice, and Rachel Rose Ryan; and one great grandson, Soren. Don left a lasting footprint inFlagstaff, as well as the ceramics community worldwide, and will be missed greatly.
Memorial services will be held Sunday, April 7th, at 2:00pm at Peace Lutheran Church.