Mary Louise Mendoza
Mary Louise Mendoza, beloved mother, passed away peacefully on September 20, 2022, at her daughter’s home surrounded by her loving family. Mary was born in 1933 and lived to be 89 years old.
Mary was the daughter of Daniel and Elisa Mendoza from Santa Barbara, California. She loved the natural beauty of her hometown so much that she lived there her entire life.
As a child, she had great affection for her family and the many gatherings with relatives that lived nearby. Her childhood was filled with celebrations with wonderful food, music, dance, and the best hospitality. Mary’s elders were known to be of the finest musicians and cooks in Santa Barbara. Those memories she carried and frequently talked about throughout her life as some of the best times and days of her childhood. At a young age, Mary became a natural protector; she would watch over the younger children and make sure they were cared for and did not get in harm’s way. The adults noticed this was so important to her that they gave her the nick name “abuelita,”- Little Grandma.
In high school, it was not surprising that Mary’s favorite subject was childhood education. As a teen, she continued her love of music and dance. She would tell stories about the good times she and her friends had at the Carrillo Recreation Center, where she loved to jitterbug and became a skilled volleyball player. After graduating high school and at the young age of 18, she married her high school sweetheart, Raymond William Ward. They had five children together. Mary enjoyed being a wife, mother, and homemaker. She engaged in the domestic activities of managing a large family, while also becoming emersed as a volunteer in the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and as a room mother. Mary made a beautiful home for family and extended her caring nature to other neighborhood children and friends.
When she and her husband divorced, she was of the first in her family and community to face the challenges of managing a large family while re-entering in the workforce. She rose to the challenge with determination and dignity. Mary enrolled in training programs and served as a keypunch operator and then worked for Electronic Data Systems, Santa Barbara City Schools, and Jostens. In 1979, Mary returned to school and became a Certified Nursing Assistant to provide private duty for individuals in end-of-life care for 16 years until her retirement. She did this with the same care and compassion that was such an inherent part of her nature.
Mary also found a supportive spiritual community in that of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She was baptized in 1968 and spent over 50 years devoted to attending meetings and going out in service with her cherished friends and community. Her favorite bible verse was Joshua 24:15 “But as for me and my household, we will serve Jehovah.” Mary was resourceful and loyal to her family, friends, and community.
Her strong spirit of resilience and compassion was passed on to her children. She was a fierce protector and wise teacher making sure her children were well taken care of, protected, valued, and prepared to be out in the world as humble, respectful, and responsible human beings. But what put a real sparkle in her eyes was spending time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. While she suffered for years with dementia, she never forgot to ask about all the kids, the little ones, and to make sure before she went to sleep each night that she “knew” each of them were safe and sound before making her prayers. Mary was in prayer much of the time during her last weeks with us, she believed in prayer and prepared herself and her family well for her journey ahead.
Mary was preceded in death by Daniel and Elisa Mendoza (Parents), Phillip Mendoza (brother), Markie Mendoza (brother), Eddie English (nephew), Angie Mendoza (niece) and Raymond Ward, Sr. (Husband). She is survived by her three siblings, Daniel Mendoza, Charlie Mendoza, Martha English. She is also survived by her five children: Raymond Ward, Jr., Matthew Ward (Kristina Ward), JanMarie Ward (Roger Bessey), Paulette Luhui Isha Ward (Mati Waiya) and Susan Fountain (Larry Fountain), 11 Grandchildren: Ryan Ward, Kyle Ward, Felicia Ward, Lucianna Ward Medolla (Jerry Medolla), Robby Bessey (Courtney Sanders), Justin Olmstead (Jessica Olmstead), Jonathan Bessey (Jennie Schmidt), Jonathan Olmstead (Ashley Olmstead), Janel Limbasan (Joel Limbasan), Tano Cabugos (Maralyn Vasquez), Michael Fountain (Gloria Fountain), and 8 Great Grand-Children: Bryce Ward, Lynnaea Medolla, Kiyan Medolla, Jayla ‘oqho’s Olmstead, Sinaxkun Cabugos, Melania Bytheway, Leceia Limbasan, and Elena Limbasan and many nieces, nephews and cousins whom she adored.
An open memorial service will be held at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses at 805 N. Quarantina Street, Santa Barbara, California on Saturday, November 12, 2022, at 1:30 pm.
An open gravesite internment will be held at the Santa Barbara Cemetery at 901 Channel Dr. on Monday, November 14, 2022, at 10 a.m. directly followed by a reception at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall at 112 West Cabrillo Boulevard.