In Memory

Mr. Carlos Mendiola

The Press-Enterprise
Longtime Moreno Valley educator, Rotary Club member, dies
Former Moreno Valley schoolteacher and administrator Carlos Mendiola died suddenly last week of a heart attack. He was 82.

A longtime Rotary Club member, Mr. Mendiola had attended the group's regular meeting April 14 before being stricken later that day.

Born March 12, 1927, in New Mexico and raised in Arizona, Mr. Mendiola enlisted in the Marines at age 17. Carlos was a WWII combat veteran with the USMC from 1944-46 as a Staff Sgt in 1st Marines - 2nd Battalion where he received a Unit Citation. In 1950 he re-enlisted for Korea and was assigned to the 13th Engineer Battalion.
After graduating from Arizona State College in 1953, he moved with his wife, Joan, to Corcoran to teach children of migrant farm workers. He later taught at West Riverside Elementary School and Corona High School before joining the Moreno Valley Unified School District in 1959.

Mr. Mendiola taught industrial arts at Alessandro Junior High and Moreno Valley High schools. He served as assistant principal and football coach at Moreno Valley High and was also principal at several schools. His was the district's business services administrator before retiring in 1986.
Mr. Mendiola's former students remembered him as a mentor and even a second father who wasn't afraid to discipline them with a paddle. "You really had to mess up to get that, but in those days it was part of growing up and learning right from wrong. I had a huge respect for him," wrote Moreno Valley High alumnus Lester Woodward in an e-mail to the family. "He was always friendly, always fair. He was a great role model for thousands of students," another alumnus, Fred Self, wrote.
Mr. Mendiola also helped create the "M" on Box Springs Mountain in 1965. Years before the city of Moreno Valley was incorporated, the Rotary Club wanted something to unite residents in the communities of Edgemont, Sunnymead and Moreno. "We wanted something to identify the valley," Mr. Mendiola said in 1998. Former Moreno Valley Mayor Judy Nieburger said Mr. Mendiola could never say "no" to anything for the Rotary, including raising money for the club's scholarship fund.

In addition to Joan Mendiola, his wife of 59 years, survivors include his children Mark, Anna, William and John; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Mark Mendiola, Class of '74,
Anna Mendiola, Class of '77,
William Mendiola, Class of '85
John Mendiola, Class of '86

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Monday at the Moreno Valley Conference & Recreation Center, 14075 Frederick St. Interment will follow at Riverside National Cemetery. Donations can be made in Mr. Mendiola's memory to the Rotary Foundation Scholarship Fund, Rotary Club of Moreno Valley, and P.O. Box 297, Moreno Valley, CA 92566.

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06/03/09 02:42 PM #17    

Terry Sweeney (1968)

Dean Glick

My favorite memory of Mr. Mendiola occured toward the end of Junior Year. The night before several of us, aka "The Midnight Skulkers", had planted some grass seed in one of the bare, dusty (when it was dry weather...) quads. About half-way throuygh Mr. Brayer's American History class Mr. Mendiola poked his head into the classroom and asked Mr. Brayer if he could "borrow" me for a bit. Mr. Brayer, as I reflect on it, seemed to supress a smile as he agreed, but I didn't realize it at the time. As I left the classroom and joined Mr. Mendiola I figured we were going to head to his office for a little "chat" about being on school grounds after hours. The night-school principal had really blown his top when he discovered what we were doing, so I thought I was about to be the first suspect to get grilled.
Instead of heading to the office, we turned the other direction and walked to the quad where we had planted the grass. Backed up to the area we had dug up was Mr. Mendiola's old pickup truck -- filled with a load of manure. He gave me a pat on the back then handed me a shovel. I spent the rest of the hour spreading manure, per his instructions, to help nourish the grass.
Mr. Mendiola was that kind of guy. Tough when the situation called for it, but always, always supportive of the students. And not above dipping into his pocket on occasion to help the school, as he did by supplying the manure. I, too, will miss him.

06/03/09 02:42 PM #18    

Terry Sweeney (1968)

Terry Mills

I was very sorry to hear about the death of Carlos Mendiola. Although I had not seen him in years, he was one of the most positive teacher/faculty/adult influence at both Alessandro Junior High School and Moreno Valley High School. My Dad Al knew him through the YMCA clubs at Alessandro first with my older brother Chris (Trojans,Spartans) and later with me (Huskies). My brother and I both took wood shop classes from him there. I was in his wood shop class on that fateful day Friday November 22, 1963 when the announcement came over the PA system John F. Kennedy had been shot. I remember how upset he was and how he gathered us up and talked about what was happening. Trying to explain to a bunch of 11 and 12 year old boys the significance of this event. It must have worked because that's the class I remember most.

Another story is from High School. I was president of the Interact Club (Rotary Key Club) my Junior and Senior years. Mr. Mendiola was the faculty sponsor. I have a lot of fond memories of working with him those two years. However, I have a confession to make, one I'm sure he would appreciate. During the spring of my senior year, on the pretense of doing some Interact/Rotary business, Mr. Mendiola agreed to let me use his new Datsun pickup truck. Which I, and an unnamed friend, immediately took to Newport Beach. I returned later that afternoon, apologized for the errand taking so long, and returned his keys. I didn't mention the fact I took a friend to Newport Beach, or that I seemed to have blown out the muffler in his new truck, still not sure how that happened. I believe that was the last time I was allowed the use of his truck.

So, Good-bye Carlos Mendiola you were a good influence on myself and world of others. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Terry Mills Class of '69

06/03/09 02:43 PM #19    

Terry Sweeney (1968)

Carolyn Edwards Albert

My deepest hearfelt sympathy goes out to Mr. Mendiola's family. We will miss Mr. Mendiola, all of us who had him in school and those who may have just met him from the class reunions he attended. He was one of a small number who have come and wanted to know how we met our lives. He was a caring good man. Whatever his relationship with us he treated us with respect which taught us to respect him.

I took Mr. Mendiola's General Math class at Alessandro while waiting for the High School to be completed. He taught us how to write a check and balance a checkbook. (Though writing checks has turned out to be a whole lot more fun than balancing the checkbook.) How to handle the practical life applications of math. He was fun and easy to learn from and taught in a way that met our ages and yet he never spoke down to us. His face is one of the few teachers that I can bring back from memory with sharp clarity.

I, as all of us who knew him I'm sure, will hold his memory fondly. Carolyn Albert, Class of '66.

06/03/09 02:43 PM #20    

Terry Sweeney (1968)

Terry Sweeney

Message from TONY DUCHAI [] to my email and I felt it needed to be here.

I am truely sad to hear of Mr Mendiola's passing.... He was an inpiration for me from my Freshman year to when I graduated 1972...... He was fair and very understanding no matter who you were... I remember this one time Mr Mendiola was assisting the freshman football coaches in teaching us "non-tacklers" how to get in the best tackling position to deliver the hit. Well, he used me as his example "dummy" and delivered a perfect stick with his face right into my breast part of my shoulder pads. For a little guy he sure did hit with authority. But, what I remember most of the tackling exibition was the next day when Mr Mendiola came to school with black eyes from when he delivered the hit with his face into me.... Im sure many other individuals will have there own stories to tell. All I can say from that first hit until I graduated, Mr Mendiola was a true friend and mentor for me. Tony "The Bull" Duchai.

06/03/09 02:44 PM #21    

Terry Sweeney (1968)

Steve Jones

Sorry to hear about Mr. Mendeola. I remember him as being very understanding. One time when I was a Junior he asked me if I would help him umpire a freshman baseball game. I'd never umpired before, so was a little scared. He told me not to worry about it that he would be there behind the plate, and all I had to do was cover the bases. Well the game started, but everytime I would make a call at one of the bases, I would yell out my call, but my hand signal was always the opposite of what I'd yell. Well as I was doing this I would realize what I'd done wrong, and would try to change my hand signal to match what I'd yelled, but then instead of keeping my mouth shut, and just making the hand signal I would then yell out my call again, but would change the call, so kept staying opposite of each other. I'd do this about 5-6 times each play. Mr. Mendeola finally called "TIME" walked out to me, and calmed me down. The other team must of thought I was a real idiot. lol Mr. Meneola still stuck with me. Of course he never asked me to help out again after that game. lol

02/09/10 12:46 PM #22    

Chris Braden (1967)

I was very sorry to hear about the passing of Mr. Mendiola. He was my wood shop teacher at Alessandro. I remember how matter-of-fact and helpful he was. He was also a disciplinarian but very fair and just in his use of discipline. Back in those times, Mr. Mendiola
had a paddle in which anybody who got out of line in wood shop class would be given "swats" in the rear end with his "board of education" as he called it. Luckily, I was never in that group to be swatted. I also remember very clearly Mr. Mendiola reviewing the exact questions with the class that would be on our wood shop final exam in advance of the test. He told us that the very first question would be: "What is Lumber?" and that the ONLY acceptable response was "Wood". Sure enough, every question he reviewed with the class was on the test, almost word-for-word. He also helped me with pointers with one of my woodshop projects in his class: a shoeshine box. I had trouble building the platform on top of the shoeshine box at the correct angle for the sole of a shoe. I believe Mr. Mendiola also rode a moped to Alessandro at times from the Pedley area of Riverside where I believe he lived back then and I seem to remember him tinkering with it from time to time. He was a great teacher and educator. I never had any classes with him at MVHS, but I spoke with him from time to time and he was a mentor to me. He will be missed.

05/07/11 05:50 PM #23    

Rebecca Snyder (1973)

My favorite memory of Mr. Mendiola is the day before graduation, 1973. I was ASB secretary, and SO proud of the time I got to spend in the ASB office, down the hall from Mr. Mendiola's. "Somebody" had brought a pan of *special* brownies to celebrate the end of the year. Mr. M popped his head in the door, as he often did, and spied the tray of brownies....then helped himself to a couple! Those of us in the office were aghast! What if he found out? What if we got busted just before graduation???

About an hour later, he dropped by the office again, winked at us, and said, "Those were some of the best brownies I ever ate!" Then he sauntered back to his office giggling like a kid.

Gone, but never forgotten...

09/23/11 04:17 PM #24    

Cathy Brehm (Tomasek) (1970)

I will never forget how Mr. Mendiola used to bail my brother Pat out of trouble, he was such a great guy...

07/18/12 04:34 AM #25    

Chris Braden (1967)

I seem to remember now that Mr. Mendiola owned a Vespa scooter and often rode it to work.  When I attended Alessandro, he was my wood shop teacher.  I vaguely remember him living in the Pedley area of Riverside.  I seem to also remember he rode his scooter even during the winter months which, even though Southern California is known for very mild winters, sometimes it would get pretty cool as I had a paper route for the Press-Enterprise and remember some pretty cold mornings from time to time delivering newspaper in the early morning, so he must have gotten pretty cool.  That would explain why I sometimes seem to remember him being overdressed with seemingly warm clothes on mild winter days that perhaps had not-so-warm mornings.  Mr. Mendiola was born to be an educator; he was firm but fair and known to be a disciplinarian, but you really wouldn't have known it if he was your teacher unless you were unfortunate enough (yet deservedly) received swats with his paddle on your rear end for misconduct in class.  He would curtly say, "grab your ankles".

06/13/14 07:23 PM #26    

Joseph Anderson (1969)

I remember seeing him as he went from one shop class to the next. The first time was when I was in jr high. We were to make a shoe shine box just like the one he brought out for us to use as a model. well I made mine just like the model. He was going to give me a d or f. I had a leg off about 1/ 4th of an inch. I knew I would probably get something for doing it but I picked my shoe shine box up and set it right next to the model looked like the model and everything. I then showed my wobble which was because of the leg. I then did the same thing with the model. Well the model had the same wobble. He measured everything on both the model and mine. I ended up with an A.

All the teachers were great and the coaches were great too, MY freshman year was the first year they had graduating seniors. The first year with a freshman football team. I remember that year well since we were to come in last in the district.. The freshman lost 1 game tied one game and won the others. The Juniors lost one game and won all the others. The seniors won district winning all their games.When in state finals they won the next game and then lost to Hemit. Boy even though the years have passed people will remember the classes people and their teachers.

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