CLEVELAND — Morton L. Mandel, renowned business leader and a philanthropic fixture with deep roots in Cleveland, has died at the age of 98.
His charitable contributions made a profound impact in Cleveland, contributing more than $900 million to Jewish, educational and cultural causes, with the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation as one of the recognizable organizations in Northeast Ohio, according to a news release from the foundation.
At time of his death, Mandel served as the Chairman and CEO of Parkwood LLC and Chairman and CEO of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Foundation, both located in Cleveland.
Born in 1921 in Cleveland, he attended Adelbert College, what is now Case Western Reserve University. After completing his freshman year at 19 years old, he dropped out and co-founded the Premier Automotive Supply Company before enlisting in the army. He later returned and became CEO of the family business, with the thought of finishing school staying on his mind for decades later.
In 2013, nearly 75 years after starting college, Mandel earned and received his bachelor’s degree with 2,000 other students in caps and gowns.
“It’s important for me to take this last step. It’s like I stopped on third base and had a chance of going home,” then-91-year-old Mandel said. “It’s completing something that was slightly incomplete.”
Nationally, Mandel served in various positions on several Jewish organizations, including as Founding Chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council.
The Mandel School for Educational Leadership was founded in 1992 with the mission of cultivating exceptional leaders in education.
“The Mandel School for Educational Leadership helped to create a corps of more than 400 change agents who are transforming Israel through ideas and actions that improve lives,” said Danny Bar Giora, the school’s current director.
In 2012, Mandel published a book on leadership titled "It's All About Who You Hire, How They Lead...and other Essential Advice from a Self-Made Leader."
Over the course of his life, Mandel received numerous awards, accolades and honorary degrees in recognition of his business and leadership prowess, including the Presidential Award for Private Sector Initiatives, presented to him personally by President Ronald Reagan in a Rose Garden ceremony.
Mandel is survived by his wife, Barbara Mandel, his daughters, Amy Mandel and Stacy ( Keith) Palagye, and his son Thomas (Lisa) Mandel; his grandchildren, Alicia Mandel, Daniela Mandel, Wilson Petricig, Jack Petricig, Daniel Mandel, Lilian Rose Palagye, Olivia Lyn Palagye; and his great-granddaughter, Amora Mandel Carson.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. at the Maltz Performing Arts Center at The Temple Tifereth Israel, located at 1855 Ansel Road in Cleveland. There will be visitation immediately following services until 5:00 p.m. at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, 11235 Bellflower Rd. in Cleveland. Additional visitation will continue on Monday, Oct. 21 from 5:00 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the home of Thom and Lisa Mandel, 1655 North Medina Line Rd., Akron, Ohio.