Jimmy Mandala, FEI Steward, Global Facilities Manager & Much Loved Figure, Passes After Long Battle With Pancreatic Cancer–1969-2017

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Jimmy Mandala at the wheel of his rebuilt truck with Scott Hassler, a supporter during the battle with pancreatic cancer, and Michael Barisone, who organized a campaign to raise funds for the project. File photo © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Oct. 31, 2017

James Mandala, an FEI steward, Global Dressage Festival facilities manager in Wellington, Florida and a much loved figure in American dressage, died at a hospice in Easton, Maryland Tuesday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 48 years old.

Jimmy, as he was known to everyone, was granted his wish of not dying in November as many of his family had but instead on Halloween, his favorite holiday, Robin Dunning, a long-time friend who was with him at the end.

“I’m so sorry to inform you all that our friend Jimmy passed peacefully this morning,” Robin texted Tuesday. “One of his wishes was to not die in November because it was the month when many of his family members passed. So he passed on Halloween, his favorite holiday. Thank you all for being his friends.”

Scott Hassler, one of Jimmy’s close friends, plans to organize a celebration during the Global winter circuit.

The dressage community across the nation had rallied around Jimmy as he battled cancer though he continued to volunteer when possible at events.

As a gesture of hope, supporters contributed to the restoration of his 15-year-old pickup in 2016.

Rebuilt from the frame up and finished in midnight blue with flake paint, the Dodge 2500 that has carried the popular facilities operator and FEI steward to work and volunteer at show grounds around the country, was turned over to Jimmy at the Global grounds.

Michael Barisone, a Big Tour competitor and trainer organized the campaign.

Among contributors were Allison Brock, Fritz and Claudine Kundrun, Scott Hassler, Laura Thomas, Steffen Peters, Arlene “Tuny” Page, Robert Dover, Kasey Perry-Glass and Dana Glass, Katherine Bateson-Chandler, Lauren Sprieser and Vera Kessels.

Jimmy was born in Massapequa, New York and raised in Missoula, Montana.

Robin said that Jimmy donated his body to science but his ashes will be sent to Missoula.