Alita Mantelsof Little Rock, AR, 1950 - 2019
Alita Mantels (31 October 1950 - 23 September 2019) was born in St. Louis (Missouri) but spent much of her youth on the farms of her grandparents (Will Hall and Elizabeth Ilon Leslie Hall near Damascus, Arkansas; Ernest Mantels and Mary Virginia Beasley Mantels near St. Clair, Missouri).
She participated in a uniquely demanding K-12 honors program within the St. Louis public schools and graduated (1968) from Grover Cleveland High School as a National Merit Scholar. Her father (Charles Ernst Mantels, Sr.) earned a Bronze Star for his World War II service in the Pacific with the U.S. Army and later worked in the U.S. Postal Service; his membership in the National Letter Carriers Association made his only daughter eligible for that organization's sole national scholarship, which helped finance her education (1968-1972) at Hendrix College (Conway, Arkansas), from which she graduated with high honors.
With multiple majors and areas of certification, she taught in several Arkansas public high schools from 1972 until her retirement in 2010; the last 35 years of her teaching career were spent on the faculty of Little Rock's Hall High School, where she taught various levels/courses of ACT Prep, English, French, Spanish, and Stage Crew. (During those four decades she also served in many leadership roles related to textbook adoption, curriculum development, standardized testing, 504 accommodations/coordination, commencement exercises, co-curricular/extra curricular student activities, and the Parent Teacher Student Association.)
After graduating high school she spent all her summers worker (in both the private and public sector) or traveling (solo or as a tour leader for groups of 3-6 high school students) in Europe, North America, and Latin America. Throughout her adult life she supported public education, the arts, civil/human rights, and the environment.
Donations in her memory may be sent to the Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation/Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 251187, Little Rock, Ark. 72225-1187. Questions should be directed to her executer James Thomson (1992 incorporator and current president for the AJHF, 501.225.2891).
No funeral/burial services are planned, but friends, colleagues, and former students are encouraged to celebrate her life during an informal reception to be held 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday, 26 October 2019 in the parlor of Ruebel Funeral Home ,(6313 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Ark. 72205, 501.666.0123). www.ruebelfuneralhome.com.
Published October 6, 2019
OBITUARY SUBMITTED BY:
Ruebel Funeral Home
6313 West Markham Street, Little Rock, AR