HIGH POINT-Forrest Arnold Mendenhall
passed away on Sunday, March 31, 2019 after a long courageous
battle with cancer.
He was 87 years old.
Forrest was born
on December 4th, 1931 at the house on his parent’s dairy farm on
Prospect Street in High Point, to the late Verna Mae Stone
Mendenhall and Robert Reid Mendenhall. He graduated from Trinity
High School in 1950, where he was captain of the football team
the year they won the state championship. He was also editor of
the Trinity year book. He attended N.C. State Veterinary School
for 1 year. He then transferred to High Point College to study
business. While at High Point College in 1953 he got a call from
Col. Fred Matthews, an auctioneer in Hertford, NC to come work
for him. He told Fred that he was going to auction school first.
He went to the Reppert Auction School in Dec. of 1953. After he
got out of auction school he began selling automobiles and
livestock every Tuesday and Thursday for Fred. He lived with
Fred Matthews and his family from Monday to Friday for 4 years.
Forrest often said, his experience with Fred Matthews was the
best education he could have ever gotten, and did not receive a
diploma for it.
started the Mendenhall Auction Co. in 1956. At the time he was
working 7-9 automobile auctions every week in NY, NJ, OH, PA, VA
etc. Forrest would travel over 100,000 miles a year for 6 years.
Every Friday, on his way home he would stop by Corn Oil Company
to have his oil changed. Forrest and his brother started the
High Point Auto Auction in February 1960. Many remember that
opening day, the highway and local roads were so backed up with
traffic trying to get to the auction, the local police were
called in to direct traffic. It was the largest auto auction
east of the Mississippi. Forrest and his brother then started
the Mendenhall School of Auctioneering in 1962. In 1970 Forrest
bought out his brother and continued on with the auction school.
In 1975 he built a permanent facility for the school, which
remains and going strong today. Over 8,000 students from all 50
states and 17 foreign countries have graduated from the auction
school. The auction school students, just prior to graduating
hold an auction under Forrest’s supervision for the St. Jude
Children’s Research Hospital. Over $400,000.00+ has been raised
a Life member of both the Auctioneers Association of NC and the
National Auctioneers Association. He was inducted into the Hall
of Fame of both Associations. He was the first recipient of the
Bernie Hart Auctioneer Award and a Warren Young Fellow by the
National Auto Auction Association. He received many other awards
for his dedication to the auction industry. He sat on the boards
of many associations. In 1971, he became a charter member of the
Furnitureland Rotary Club. He was a Shriner, a Mason, a member
of the Appaloosa & Quarter Horse Associations, Ducks Unlimited,
Rocky Mount Elk Foundation and numerous others. He also sat on
the Wachovia Bank Board until he turned 70. He was an avid
farmer. He loved his horses and cows. He raised hundreds of
champion horses, including several State and World Champions. He
and Betty Jo rode in numerous parades and competed in hundreds
of horse shows.
Forrest was a lifelong fitness enthusiast,
including being a weight lifter in his younger days. He
exercised daily until his health declined. He said “You had to
do a little something everyday”, whether it amounted to anything
or not.” Another famous statement he had, “The learning process
is never completed.” Forrest would read two plus hours a day.
You could find him reading his newspaper, magazines or trade
journals. He was always learning.
Forrest was a birthright Quaker. He
loved Springfield Friends Meeting. In his younger days, he was
in the church choir. As a young child he got into trouble
numerous times by ringing the bell outside the worship hall,
when he wasn’t supposed to. If he could not attend church, he
would go to a special spot on his beloved farm to speak and be
with God. Forrest loved his family and loved people and being
around people in general.
survived by his wife of 54 wonderful years, Betty Jo Turner
Mendenhall; daughter, Julie Mendenhall; son, Wayne Mendenhall;
his grandson, Johnathan Mendenhall; sister, Valeria Mendenhall
Thayer and a host of nieces and nephews. Also surviving are
special friends, Theodore Mack, Kim Hagan, Terry Murry and Spunk
Jones. Forrest’s best buddy was his grandson Johnathan.
Johnathan’s best buddy was his Papa Forrest. He was preceded in
death by his parents, and brother, Robert Mendenhall.