Rudolph Ray Mendoza
On Thursday, December 19, Rudy passed away peacefully with his family by his side. Rudy was born in Santa Barbara to Jess and Lucy (Grijalva) Mendoza on December 8, 1930.
Rudy leaves behind his loving wife of 60 years, Dora (Curlango) Mendoza; three children: Luci (Dean) Carr, Christina Mendoza, and son, David (Maureen). Six grandchildren: Jacob Ortiz (Analise) Jasmine Elbek (Vaughn), Sam Carr, Hallie, Tristan and Russell Biolley; and three great-grandchildren: Ryleigh Ortiz, Reese and Beau Elbek, nephews, Mike and Mark Azzara, adopted brother, Rick Garcia. He is predeceased by his daughter, Lorinda Rae and sister, Gloria Roesch.
Rudy attended Santa Barbara Catholic High and graduated in the class of 1951. From 1951 to 1954, he served in the US Airforce as Airman First Class during the Korean War and was stationed in Germany. After honorably completing his service, he returned home to Santa Barbara. He then began his career with GTE. It was there that he met and subsequently married his wife, Dori. Shortly after starting with GTE, he became involved in the Labor Movement and became an activist with the Communication Workers of America. In 1971 he was elected to the National Executive Board of CWA which took him and his family to Washington, D.C. During that time he became a world traveler and forged many life-long friendships with special friends. He remained active in the labor movement even after his retirement from CWA in 2000.
Shortly after his retirement he returned to his hometown of Santa Barbara where he enjoyed spending time with friends and family. He especially liked camping at the beach where he had many shared memories of extraordinary and easy-going happy times. One of his favorite hobbies was restoring his shiny, bright yellow 1953 Ford F100 pick-up truck which he entered into many car shows with his son, David and grandson, Jacob. He will be always be remembered as a proud and loving husband, father, uncle and grandfather who loved to tell a humorous story and share a conversation about a wide variety of topics from world events to mischievous childhood memories. He was dearly loved by his family and will be greatly missed.
Special thanks to all the nurses and Dr. Gupta, of Ridley-Tree Cancer Center. Beth-Ann, Marlene and Rosaria of Visiting Nurse and Hospice. We are forever grateful for your kindness and care of our precious husband and father. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Ridley Tree Cancer Center or Visiting Nurse & Hospice Assoc.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, March 6 at 11:00 am at Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapel, 15 E. Sola Street, Santa Barbara. A celebration of life will be held after at a location to be announced.