Eliseo “Manny” Mendoza was born on November 16, 1932, to Panfilo and Felipa Mendoza in Dexter, New Mexico, where he and his seven siblings grew up on a farm. As the eldest, his siblings called him “Big Chief” and at a very young age, he stopped attending grade school to work on the farm and help support his family. In the early 1950s, his family moved to Roswell, New Mexico, where he continued working on a farm, until 1953 when he joined the United States Army and served in the Korean War. After completing eight years of honorable service, he was discharged as a Sergeant (1962) and entered into civil service as a warehouse employee at Walker Air Force Base in New Mexico.
In 1959, he met the love of his life, Prestinia N. Gonzales, who also worked in civil service on the base. They married later that year, had three children (Joanna, Geneva, Alfred), and spent the next 62 years of their lives together as husband and wife. In 1966, as Walker AFB was shutting down, Eliseo, Pat, and their children moved to
Tucson, Arizona where they both transferred to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and continued in civil service, until their retirement. Eliseo spent 34 years, proudly serving his country in the United States Army and as a civil servant, until his retirement in 1987.
After retirement, he worked for 11 years with ACE Parking, shuttling people to and from the Tucson Airport. In Tucson, Eliseo, known as Manny, was an avid pool player and played in a pool league for several years, where he received numerous trophies and was ranked as a top player in the Tucson area. In 1975, he joined the Big Brothers of Tucson, where he mentored a young man through young adulthood. He volunteered for several years with Our Lady de Fatima, helping set up the annual fiestas for the church.
Eliseo was a proud member of the American Legion, Post 68, and enjoyed attending community events to honor military members for their service. He loved music and enjoyed spending time with all of his family, one of his favorite past times was watching homemade videos of family events.
Eliseo is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Prestinia G. Mendoza; their children, Joanna Vicencio,
Geneva Machado (Ray), and Alfred Mendoza. Grandchildren, Raymond Mario Marquez, Bernadette Marquez, Ray Machado, Celena Olivas (Felix), Daniel Machado, and Gabriel Machado. Great grandchildren, Jaylene, Anjali, Aidan, Dominic, Amyah, and Gianna. Siblings, Eloisa Regalado, Lupe Sanchez, and Robert (Gloria) Mendoza. Daughter, Diane Longoria; grandchildren Leticia, Emilio, and Nicholas. Several nieces, nephews, and extended family. He is preceded in death by his parents, Panfilo and Felipa. Siblings, Robert, Richard, Rosita, and Enrique and sons-in-law, Tony Vicencio and Hector Romero.