1999 Inductee John B. Mendoza

1999 Inductee John B. Mendoza


Policemen swear to “serve and protect.” John did that and much more. The early and later years of John’s life were spent in service to others, but he was also a pioneer in law enforcement.

John was the first Hispanic to serve on the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Department. In 1947 he was one of four officers in an undercover group that made the first metro narcotics task force in Central California. In 1957 he was promoted to the first detective division where he handled vice, narcotic sand murder cases. He retired in 1964. “He was highly commended by the Attorney General’s Office for his services during that time,” recalls a family member.

Law enforcement was John’s second career. He was a barber for nearly 15 years and had his own barber shop. In the 40’s he was very active in the Latin American Club. It sponsored dances to raise scholarship money. During holidays, food baskets were given to the needy. He was also in the Latin American Bugle Corp and marched in parades such as the San Francisco League of Nations Parade in 1942.

During the 60’s he was president of the Charros del Valle San Joaquin Association. It held many dances and charreadas (rodeos) which attracted many people. John was also member of the Mexican-American Lions Club, which raised money for Mexican-American scholarships.

“His most memorable contribution to society took place when he became active in the Cursillo Movement. John helped raise funds for youth retreats and cursilos for adults, because he really believed in the betterment of mankind and the love of God,” his sister Rachel remembers fondly.

During his last years he assisted the elderly and the sick by giving them free hair cuts in their homes. St. George’s Church benefited from the pancake breakfasts he organized for their school.

“In his last month of life the pancake breakfast was carried out by his sons and daughters,” a family member said with pride. John passes away on May 8, 1983.