John Roche Mendes, 97, was called peacefully home to heaven by our Lord Sunday evening, December 9, 2018, just twelve days after his wife Grace to whom had been married 76 and a half years was called peacefully home to heaven. He was born in Fresno, California on October 1, 1921, the second of four sons, to John and Maria Mendes. The young Portuguese family dairy farmed in the early 1900’s in California beginning in Lenare and later moved to Tulare then to Blythe and eventually settled in Chino in 1937. He attended Chino High School where he met the love of his life, Grace English. They were both star athletes with John winning the varsity MVP football blanket. As a young man he enjoyed breaking in horses, horseback riding with Grace and FFA. He especially loved playing football so much that he paid someone to milk his cows and willing to run five miles home after practice since there was no bus.
After stating he was older than he truly was he left high school in 1939 before graduating and enlisted in the National Guard. He later returned to high school and graduated in 1941. After graduating in 1941 he enlisted into the Army, 160th infantry, private first class, serving in the South Pacific. He was a radio operator, combat soldier and a M1 rifle sharp shooter. He was awarded Combat Infantry Badge, American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon with a bronze star and received a Purple Heart. After WW2 he worked thirty six years for General Electric at the flat iron plant in Ontario, California. He worked as a relief milker to help a neighbor and at a calf ranch when there was a GE strike. After retiring from GE he worked as a custodian for Ontario Montclair School District where he was forced to learn how to use a telephone for the first time because Grace always dialed the telephone for him.
John and Grace truly enjoyed their three daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He taught his family to love their country he fought for and made an effort to take his family to most of the western National Parks. He taught his family to love the Lords creation and nature. He loved to camp, hike, fishing, singing camp fire songs, chop wood and snow ski with his family. He taught his daughters how to maintain their vehicles, drive tractors, hay trucks and he was brave enough to be a passenger with their drivers training. John was involved with the DES and enjoyed going to Portuguese celebrations. He was an usher for St. Margaret’s Church always with a big smile and always saying “thank you”. He helped his daughters learn to show their 4-H animals, haul the cattle, hay, grain and show box to the fairs. He loved spending time with family events and holiday celebrations. Easter egg hunting was always a highlight with John saying “look high, look low”. John and Grace were involved in the Chino Community Historical Society in an effort to uphold the valleys history.
The family wishes to shout out a huge thank you to Comfort Keepers heroic angels, Michelle Hazzard (six years) and Robin Chamberlain who for the past few months was Johns dream cook. We also wish to express our appreciation to the hospice nurses, Nancy Compton and Laura Sims, who guided both John and Grace peacefully to heaven.
John was predeceased by his three brothers and son in law Alvin Hawes. He is survived by his 3 daughters, Carolyn Hawes, Marlene Mendes, Janene Nederend and husband Hans. He is survived by 6 grandsons, Nathan Hawes and wife Jennifer, Darren Hawes and wife Mandy, Dustin Hawes and wife Kelly, Hans Nederend IV and wife Keri, John Nederend and wife Amy, James Nederend and wife Sydney. John was blessed with and enjoyed 16 great grandchildren.
Viewing will be held on Thursday, December 20, 2018 at 4:00-6:00 p.m. and Rosary at 6:00. Viewing and Rosary will be held at Yraguen Nampa Funeral Home, 12th Ave, Nampa, ID, 83686.
Funeral Mass will be held Friday, December 21, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, 510 W. Roosevelt, Nampa, ID, 83686. Burial following Mass shall be at Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, 10100 N. Horseshoe Bend Road, Boise, ID, 83714
An online guest book is available at www.nampafuneralhaome.com
The family would be honored if charitable gifts be directed in memory of John Mendes to: “First Choice Hospice”, 12400 W. Overland Rd., Suite 100, Boise, ID, 83709 or “Wounded Warrior Project”, 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL, 32256.