Norwalk community leader Sara Mendez dies at 93

NORWALK – Sara P. Mendez, a longtime volunteer and community leader who devoted more than 50 years to improving the communities of Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs, died in Norwalk on Feb. 4 at age 93. Her family was at her side at the time of her death.

Born in El Paso, Tex. in 1921 to Pascuala (Pola) and Jesus Jimenez, she moved to south Los Angeles in 1935 with her two brothers, Eduardo (Lalo) and Romeo (Mayo).

She attended Jefferson High School where she met her husband, Mario Mendez. The couple moved to Norwalk in 1951, establishing residence in what would be their family home for 64 years.

Mendez’s volunteer service began in her children’s activities. She was active in Pop Warner football, Little League baseball, Bobby Sox softball, PTAs at William Orr Elementary and Lakeside Middle School, and Expanded Horizons at Santa Fe High School.

She worked at Santa Fe High in both Title 1 classrooms and in the principal’s office. For decades she also served as trustee for the Little Lake City School District.

In recognition of her extensive community service, Norwalk dedicated Sara Mendez Park in her honor in 2007.

She is survived by her children, Mario Jr., Edward, Sandra, Michael, Ralph, Anthony, Marc and Maria; grandchildren, Jason, Lauren, Alicia, Lindsay, Ryan, Michael, Erik, Christopher, Catrina, Sara, Cassandra, Tyler, James, Marina and Travis; and great grandchildren, Riley, Scarlett, Donovan, Nixon and Harper.

She was predeceased by her husband in 2003.

“Sara will be especially remembered for her love of her family and her passion for improving our public education system,” family members said. “She wanted every child to have equal access to a quality education -- no matter who they were.”

Services were held Thursday at St. Linus Catholic Church, with a reception afterwards at the Norwalk Arts and Sports Complex. Burial was private.

In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to the Little Lake Educational Advancement Foundation, 10515 S. Pioneer Blvd., Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670.



Published: Feb. 19, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 45