Leonardo “Leo” P. Mendoza, 79, of McPherson, KS, passed away on Monday, June 5, 2023.
Leo was born the 7th child of 8 to Rosario Puga and Ramon Mendoza in Corona, California on August 30, 1943. He grew up in Alberhill with his siblings Lupe (Romero), Bobby, Alice (Salgado), Raymond, Richard, Mary (Martinez), and Nicholas. During his youth, he enjoyed spending time with family, playing baseball, and walking the trails in the hills near his town with his dog. At age 18, Leo enlisted in the Air Force which brought him to Salina, KS.
At the end of his service, he met and fell in love with Karen Walline. This prompted a sudden move to McPherson. The two married on October 14, 1967. They were blessed with three children, Kina, Nikki, and Richard. Leo’s passion for baseball continued as he tossed the ball around with his children and played the role of #1 fan at their softball and baseball games.
After the nest emptied, Leo and Karen went on many trips to visit almost every Major League baseball stadium in the U.S. and Canada. If he wasn’t at a game, you could be sure to find him on the couch watching baseball, usually with a dog, if one was available. Karen and Leo also traveled extensively in North America by car, bus, and boat, including Alaska, Hawaii, the Panama Canal, and many trips back to California.
Leo was a devoted husband and father. As foreman at McPherson Concrete, he would often have to leave his family during the week and travel around middle America pouring concrete footings for silos to support his wife and children. His time on the weekends was spent with family, attending his children’s activities and family gatherings. Leo was also often spotted walking all over McPherson, and Karen repeatedly found herself an unwitting passenger of a surprise road trip on a Sunday afternoon (not knowing where they were going, nor when they might return).
After 50 years of work, Leo was able to adopt new hobbies during his retirement. He spent hours looking out the window to alert everyone of the comings and goings of the neighborhood: animal sightings, strange vehicles, bike riders, and unfamiliar people walking by. He enjoyed naps on the couch, word searches, coffee time with friends, and lots of trips to visit the grandkids, William, Alex, Emma, and Daniel.
Leo’s love of children and dogs showed throughout his life as he readily accepted all “granddogs” as his own. No dog nor child was a stranger. Leo would often get into trouble making goofy faces at children he met around town and at church to get a smile. He was the ever-doting grandfather, taking his grandchildren on many adventures, including trips to Disney World and Disneyland, and pulling them around in a wagon all over town. He was everything a grandfather should be, a silly, treat-giving, fun-loving, supportive grandpa who gave great hugs and snuggles.
While he was a man of few words, Leo’s heart was full. He was a kind, gentle, loving man who made friends easily and will be remembered and truly missed by many.
Survivors include: his loving wife of 55 years, Karen; three children, Kina Mendoza of Wichita, KS, Nikki Pendlay of Carrollton, TX, and Richard Mendoza (Amanda) of Emporia, KS; four grandchildren, William Pendlay, Alexandria Pendlay, Emma Mendoza, and Daniel Mendoza; a sister, Mary Martinez of Hesperia, CA; and many extended family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents and six siblings, Lupe Romero, Nicholas Mendoza, Bobby Mendoza, Richard Mendoza, Raymond Mendoza, and Alice Salgado.
The funeral service will be held at 10:30 AM, Monday, June 12, 2023, at Countryside Covenant Church with Rev. Jeremy Bower officiating. A graveside service will be held at 1:00 PM, Monday, June 12, at Empire Cemetery, Galva. To view a live stream broadcast of the service, please click on the following link: https://boxcast.tv/view/leo-mendoza-funeral-q1myo2m15ppwkznwabzr
Memorial donations may be given to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the McPherson Animal Shelter in care of Stockham Family Funeral Home, 205 North Chestnut, McPherson, KS 67460.