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Kristopher Jay Mendenhall

Kristopher Jay Mendenhall
Ocean Pines

After struggling valiantly with a long illness, Kristopher Jay Mendenhall passed into eternal peace in Ocean Pines on Dec. 7.  He was 66.

Born in Alexandria, Virginia, Kris moved with his family to Selbyville, Delaware, at age 12 and attended Indian River High School where he was very active in the music program.

Kris joined the U.S. Air Force in 1977 and served as an airplane mechanic, mostly in Okinawa, until 1984. Upon returning to the US, he fell in love with Florida, ultimately making his home in the Tampa Bay area, though he maintained strong ties to Delmarva.

Working primarily as a district retail sales manager for most of his career, Kris also parlayed his love of plants into a second career in landscape management.

Kris was also a talented musician with a beautiful tenor singing voice. In addition to performing at many churches, private events, and other venues across Florida, he was also an in-demand back-up singer, including for such talents as Amy Grant and Gloria Estefan. When he wasn’t making music on stage, he was often designing and running the sound systems that made other performers sound their best.

Kris was a man of profound Christian faith. He also had an extraordinary ability to connect and bond with anybody immediately and to maintain those connections for life. Kris made it his business to be there if anyone needed help. He had a huge and generous heart and was also quick to raise money or volunteer for many worthy causes, both sacred and secular (and was the absolute best holiday Santa ever).

In 2001, a family situation introduced him to Give Kids the World Village, a magical “town” in Kissimmee, Florida, just for critically ill children. Kris immediately signed up to volunteer for one week (or more) every year and never stopped promoting their wonderful work.

Kris is survived by his wife, Melissa; son Joshua Lamm and daughter-in-law Jackie Lamm; grandson Nathan Lamm; sisters Karen Adcock and Kippy Murtaugh; brother Kerry Mendenhall; sister-in-law Kim Mendenhall; brother-in-law Harry Murtaugh; niece Tina Kahn and her family; sister-in-law Melody Alicea and her family; and father-in-law Donald Lippiatte; as well as his faithful service dog, Molly.

Kris wished to be cremated and his ashes will reside in the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery.

A Celebration of Life will be held for Kris’s local friends and family at the Community Church of Ocean Pines at 11 a.m. on Jan. 13. There will also be a Celebration of Life in Florida with details to be announced.

In lieu of condolences, donations in Kris’s name can be made to Give Kids the World Village.

Arrangements are in the care of Eastern Shore Cremation and Funeral Service, 504 Franklin Avenue in Berlin. To send condolences to the family, visit