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.

Forrest 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 to date.

Forrest was 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.

He is 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.
Mendenhall Auction School, Since 1962
6729 Auction Road, High Point, NC 27264
336-887-1165  I  888-833-0316  I  Fax 336-887-1107