Obituary for Edward C. Mendler

 Edward C. Mendler of Wayland, Massachusetts passed away on December 30, 2013, surrounded by family at home.


Mr. Mendler was 87 years old, a retired attorney well known among members of the Massachusetts Bar for his innovation and attention to detail. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, he practiced with the firm of Nutter McClennen & Fish for over 50 years, specializing in the area of Real Estate. Ed put together the Northeast Corridor for Amtrak, as well as what was then the biggest real estate transaction ever signed in Boston, with the sale of the Bank of Boston Building in 1984. He was a lifetime trustee of the New England Aquarium and is largely responsible for its present location on the Boston waterfront. He was The Man Who Saved Surf-Side, on Nantucket. Ed enjoyed representing the firm in Tokyo and Amsterdam. He was particularly proud of his decades of service to clients Tufts University and Boston University.  His last legal project was updating the “Massachusetts Conveyancers’ Handbook”, his reference manual for the profession.


A true renaissance man, Ed was dedicated to democracy and civil rights. Starting in the 1950s, he was a supporter of the United Way, and a founding member of the Wayland Committee on Fair Housing. He drafted the founding policy statement for, and served as first president of Massachusetts Fair Housing, Inc. A member of World Peace Through Law, he wrote in early opposition to the Vietnam War, and analyzed the constitutionality of our most recent invasion of Iraq (and found it lacking). He enjoyed foreign travel with family and friends, was proficient in French and German, and enjoyed practicing his Japanese. Known as a composer of witty and erudite limericks, Ed also enjoyed singing with Boston Saengerfest Men’s Chorus, including multiple performances at the Royal Albert Hall in London, and one at Carnegie Hall in New York.


Mr. Mendler designed his home in Wayland and engineered many unique features himself - including intricate plumbing, wiring and carpentry. He erected by means of a traditional neighbor-assisted barn-raising palatial accommodations for his daughters’ horses and an impressive array of tractor accessories. The Mendlers have summered at their cottage on MacMahan Island, Maine for over four decades. Mr. Mendler was very active and forward-thinking in land management and preservation, and both his home town and summer community benefitted greatly from his hard work and expertise in these areas. As a former member of the Wayland Conservation Commission he was a supporter of Sudbury Valley Trustees and took a special interest in leading the Bridle Trail Trustees, Inc. The MacMahan Island Agreement he authored in the ‘70’s laid the foundation for preserving a jewel of the Maine coast. He was a recognized leader in the use of conservation easements, much to the betterment of New England as a whole.


Ed earned his pilot’s license at age 16 and liked to reminisce about flying with his father ‘by the seat of the pants’ in the 1940s, when instrumentation was in its infancy. An avid sailor, Mr. Mendler twice captained his yacht “Honour Bound” in the Marion to Bermuda cruisers’ race. He did this in 1991 and 1993, when electronic navigation systems were still not allowed. A Navy radio technician who served on Guam at the end of World War II, Ed could both navigate by sextant and repair your radar with nothing more than a vice-grips and a coat hanger, should the need arise.


Since retirement, his unflagging quest for knowledge and pursuit of science led his active “life of the mind” into new areas of research and writing. His earlier publications include Evolution for Creationists and Policies for a President. This month saw the publication of his first fiction novel; ABC: Anthony Bennet Champion, The Whole Story About an Extraordinary Man of the Twenty-first Century and his many Friends, Escapades and Achievements. Forthcoming on Amazon.com, his magnum opus; False Truths – The Error of Relying on Authority.


Mr. Mendler is survived by his loving wife of over 40 years, Mary Grew Mendler, and sister Jeanne Davies of Pompano Beach, Florida; devoted children Janot Mendler de Suarez and husband Pablo Suarez of Wayland, MA, Charles Mendler and wife Sandy Mendler of Los Angeles, CA, and Suzette Alibazaire of Jackson, Wyoming, stepsons Ted Brown and wife Connie Brown of Augusta, Maine, and Rick Brown and wife Anne Brown of Turner, Maine; grandchildren Bahiyyih Comeau of Brooklyn, NY, Mehdi Comeau of Amsterdam, Netherlands, Bridgit Mendler and Nick Mendler of Los Angeles, CA, Emma Brown of Augusta, Maine, Molly Brown and Cecile Brown of Turner, Maine; cousin Constance Konold of Boury-en-Vexin, France, nieces and nephews Jeff Davies of West Hartford, Connecticut, Pam Davies of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Susie Davies of New Mexico, and Camille Mendler Matthews of London, England.


A memorial service will be held at 2pm, Sunday January 5th, 2013 at the Church of the Holy Spirit, 169 Rice Road (off Rte 30), Wayland, MA.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ed’s honor to the New England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston MA 02110, Tel: 617-973-5200, www.neaq.org.

For online condolences please visit www.johncbryantfuneralhome.com




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