Obituary : Michael G. Mendlovitz
Michael Mendlovitz of Montclair, N.J., beloved son of Roberta Mendlovitz of Vineyard Haven, died on October 18 in St. Joseph's Hospital hospice in Wayne, N.J.
Michael was first diagnosed with malignant melanoma five years ago. Born in Montclair, N.J., on May 9, 1957, Michael spent many summers and vacations on the Vineyard, his mother's birthplace, in his earliest years. He learned to swim at Menemsha Beach and especially loved up-Island solitude. He was planning on spending the winter with his mother on the Island before his cancer became incurable. Michael's childhood was spent in Cohasset with his family, where he was educated at Derby Academy in Hingham, The Fessenden School in Newton, and Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire.
Music of all kinds, reading, and writing his own thoughts were the passions of his life. While attending Rutgers University, many of his happiest years were spent managing a music store in Montclair. Following in his father's footsteps, Michael became a world traveler and he accomplished his childhood goal of standing one day on the Great Wall of China.
Other travels took him to England, Spain, Poland, Germany, Sweden, Iceland, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, and for much of his life to Thailand where he owned a bookstore in the village of Pi near the Burmese border. There he spent wonderful years learning the arts of massage and Eastern healing. His bookstore became a famous tourist attraction to English-speaking tourists over a period of 10 years.
Michael was a dear and loving person who saw life through sensitive and kind eyes. He will be sorely missed by his grieving family and friends. When his cancer progressed in April 2008, he left his life in Thailand and came home to Montclair, N.J. In addition to his sister, Jamie Bradford, who pre-deceased him in 1995, he leaves his father, Saul, a professor of international law at Rutgers University Law School, his mother Robert Bradford Mendlovitz of Vineyard Haven and Lair family relatives on the Island, along with a sister, Jessica Dibb of Owings Mills, Md. and her son Joshua, a younger sister Martha Matt of Swarthmore, Penn., and her son, Samuel, a brother John of Montclair, an uncle Albert Mendlovitz and his family of New York; two dear aunts and many cousins.
He leaves his whole family with the sound of music he loved. From Bo Diddley, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Deborah Harry to Sinatra and Bach, Michael's wide love and knowledge of music defined him. His wonderful sense of humor and writings he left behind are only parts of the legacy of this gentle, unforgettable, free and loving spirit.
In California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, Mike undoubtedly left saddened people whose names we do not know and who may not possess permanent street addresses, but to whom Michael's care and sensitivity made a real difference in their lives. The disadvantaged to Mike were also parts of his family.
A private funeral service for family and friends in honor of his very special life was held in Owings Mills, Md., at the home of his sister Jessica Dibb. He was laid to rest at Gunpowder Friends Meeting House Cemetery in Sparks, Md., on a beautiful autumn day, October 20, beside his sister Jamie who died of breast cancer 13 years to the very day Mike was buried.
It would please Michael and his family if those who knew him or of him would give whatever you can in the weeks ahead to a needy person or family, whether it be a coat, a gift of money, food, or a helping hand.