John Mendoza was born on February 2nd, 1944 in Calexico, California, the second of five children of Augustine and Adela Mendoza. He had many fond memories of his childhood in the Imperial Valley. In 1957, the family moved to National City, California. John was a proud Sweetwater High Red Devil, class of 1962. In high school, he was an active member of the Socialbles Club.
John married his high school sweetheart, Peggy in 1964 and they were soon after blessed with twin boys, John and Jim. Three years later daughter Gina arrived.
John started working for the grocery industry at 18 years old. He was a proud United Food & Commercial Workers Union member. He worked for many years at Lucky Stores in Lemon Grove; first at the location on Lemon Grove Avenue (now Sprouts), then later at the location on Broadway (now Albertsons). He retired from the union after 35 years. After retirement, he golfed several days a week, helped his brother Augie with his window and door business, camped and rode dirt bikes in the desert and hosted many BBQ/poker parties with his neighbor Vince on Sue Rich Lane in Lemon Grove.
Then in 1999, he met the love of his life (his words), Jenny. They married in 2000 and John also gained a stepson, Mike, whom he loved and treated as his own son. They moved into their forever home in 2002, a 1904 farmhouse in the heart of Lemon Grove, and spent many years lovingly fixing it up and nurturing their garden.
One of John's biggest passions was his grandchildren. He first grandson, Nick, was the light of his life. Several years later, the girls followed: Lexie, Sammee, Rebecca, Mikayla, Katie, Krista, Valentina and finally another boy, Auston. He spent many happy years attending soccer, baseball and football games. Attending a Shakespeare play that Lexie was in sparked a late-in-life love of the bard (who'd have thought it!). He also bravely attended many ballet practices and recitals with Valentina. He was an amazing Grandpa who adored his grandchildren. He was also blessed with four great grandsons; Ryker, Maverick, Tiberius and Rhett, who he just thought the world of. He recently traveled to Cabo San Lucas with Jenny, Nick and Ryker, which was time that we will all treasure forever. In the Spring, Lexie travelled to San Diego with her babies Maverick and Rhett, which touched his heart to no end.
John was an active volunteer ushering at the Old Globe Theater and the San Diego Museum of Art with Jenny. He joined the Lions Club about 8 years ago and threw his whole heart and soul into it. He just loved being a Lion and served his community through food drives, eye glass donations and other community activities, including support of the Lemon Grove Little League. John was also a lector and choir member at his church, St. John of the Crhurch in Lemon Grove. He was instrumental in the establishment and development of the Lemon Grove Community Garden where he tended a plot.
John and Jenny were set to celebrate their 23rd wedding anniversary on 9/9 with a trip to Catalina Island. Over the last 20+ years, they traveled to Paris, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Peru, Ireland, numerous trips to Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun and Loreto, many camping trips, cruises through the Panama Canal and to Alaska, and they visited many of these United States.
John woke up every day with a smile on his face, declaring he was the luckiest man in the world and counting his many blessings. He greeted every person he met on the street like they were his best friends. He made many friends over the years and will be sorely missed.
On September 3, John suffered a sudden and unexpected heart attack. We want to thank the Heartland Fighters, paramedics, sheriff deputies and Grossmont Hospital staff who came to his aid and tried to revive him. John was an extremely faithful man who firmly believed that when he left this life, he would be in heaven forever with his God and Savior Jesus Christ. As we explained to his youngest grandson, Grandpa is now an angel in heaven.
John's service will be held on Friday 9/15 at 11 am at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church, 8086 Broadway, Lemon Grove, California. Reception immediately following. His ashes will be interred at a later date at Holy Cross Cemetery.
Donations can be made in his honor to Lions Clubs International Foundation.