Mindy Mandel, 1951-2007
Mindy Sue Mandel, a longtime Vail ski instructor and avid outdoor enthusiast, died Monday from complications of breast cancer. She was 56.
Mindy was born Jan. 12, 1951 in Denver and was the middle of three sisters.
She was married to Jimmy Mandel on Aug. 10, 1972. The two met at George Washington High School in Denver, where Mindy first asked Jimmy out on a date in physics class. Together they attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, Mindy obtaining her bachelor of sciences degree in medical technology.
Upon graduation, Mindy worked at Children’s Hospital in the chemistry lab for approximately seven years. She then earned a masters degree from the University of Colorado Medical School as a child health associate, a physician’s assistant specializing in pediatrics. She then worked in pediatric in-patient care at Swedish and Porter hospitals for eight years.
Mindy and Jimmy bought a weekend home in Eagle-Vail in 1982. Not only did she teach Jimmy how to ski, but she instilled her passion for the sport in hundreds of skiers as a Vail ski instructor since 1988. Further enhancing her joy on the mountain, Mindy became a certified telemark instructor in addition to her alpine ski instruction certification.
In 1993, the Mandels made Vail their primary home, and in 2000, they built their dream home on Bellyache Ridge, an experience that inspired Mindy to write a book called “Quityourbellyaching.”
In addition to skiing, Mindy strived to improve her golf game and cycling. With Jimmy and friends, Mindy indulged her love for travel and sport with golf trips to Hawaii and cycling trips to Europe. Throughout her life, her best friends were her dogs, cats and a bird named Chili. Mindy adopted a new puppy, Valentina, in March but her longtime companion, Amos, still had a special place in her heart.
Mindy is survived by Jimmy and her dogs; her mother and father, Maxine and Seymour Katzson of Denver; sister Robyn and her husband, Andy Levy, of Denver; sister Michele and her husband, Richard Right, of Denver; as well as many nieces and nephews, including Brent and Ali Levy, long associated with Ski Club Vail.
A celebration of Mindy’s life will be held during an open house in Vail on Aug. 20 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. For details call 477-5546. This will be followed by a memorial tribute on Vail Mountain on a yet to be determined date this winter.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Lions Eye Bank of Denver or the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.