Joel Jerome Mintzes

December 13, 1947 - September 13, 2021
Joel Jerome Mintzes

Joel Jerome Mintzes, age 73, died September 13, 2021. Dr. Mintzes was born in Los Angeles, California on December 13, 1947 and grew up in Southern California. He attended the University of Illinois at Chicago where he received his B.S and M.S. in Biology, and Northwestern University where he received his PhD in Science Education.

Dr. Mintzes’s scholarly achievements included researching conceptual development and cognitive processes in Biology and developments in Environmental Education. He was the Visiting Ecology Scholar at Providence University in Taiwan and a Fulbright Technion Fellow at the Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa.

He began his career at the University of Windsor as an assistant professor of Biology. In 1979 he accepted a position at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where he taught Introductory Biology to hundreds of students. He retired as a full professor having advised and mentored many graduate students who went on to make contributions to the field of Biology education.

In 2008 Dr. Mintzes accepted the chairmanship of the newly created Department of Science Education at California University at Chico. When he retired from Chico State, he continued his work with the Harvard Smithsonian institute for Astrophysics writing Biology examination questions for middle and high school students as part of of a research project focusing on misconceptions in science.

He was an active member of BNai Israel Synagogue where he served on the board, and he taught in the religious school. He is survived by his wife of fifty-two years Sue Mintzes of Wrightsville Beach; son Aaron (Corinne) Mintzes; siblings Terry Reich and Richard Mintzes; nieces Miriam White (Nicholas Kuperman) and Shayna Reich; nephews Adam Reich and Andy White( Amy Ludwig).

He is also survived by the light of life grandson Lazar Mintzes.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers contributions in memory of Joel Mintzes be made to: The Herbert and Shirley Mintzes Memorial Scholarship Endowment at or checks can be made to UNCW, University Advancement, 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403 with a note indicating Mintzes Memorial Scholarship Endowment. Contributions may also be made to BNai Israel Congregation, 2601 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, NC 28405.

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  • September 15, 2021
    Larry Cahoon says:
    Sue and Aaron, I am so sorry to learn of Joel's passing. Joel was my first mentor at UNCW - I taught a section of BIO 105, with him as lead. And I recall Aaron being in our wedding.

  • September 16, 2021
    Eleanor "Ellie" Krassen Covan says:
    Joel was one of my first friends when I arrived to teach medical sociology at UNCW in 1985. He remained a friend to me and my family through the university and the B'Nai Israel communities. May his memory continue to be a blessing to Sue and Aaron and to all who cherished his keen sense of humor.

  • September 16, 2021
    Sharon Roetger says:
    Aaron and Sue, May your wonderful memories of Joel carry you through his sad passing. Know I am thinking of you both at this difficult time.

  • September 16, 2021
    Angelia Reid-Griffin lit a candle:
    Lit since September 16, 2021 at 9:55:39 PM

  • September 16, 2021
    Sherri Batson says:
    Thinking of your family during this time of loss. Not only was I a colleague but also had Dr. Mintzes as a professor. So sorry for your loss.