Antonina “Lena” Mendes was called home to be with her Savior on December 29, 2019, surrounded by the love of her family. Affectionately known as “Nana” by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she lived a selfless life of putting everyone else’s needs above her own, and showing unconditional love to all. She will forever be cherished and missed in the lives of her family and friends.
Lena was born October 12, 1931 in Detroit, Michigan. At the age of 15, she moved to Modesto, California with her parents and two sisters. It was here that she met the love of her life, Tony Mendes. They were married on July 11, 1959. They were blessed with over 60 years of marriage and seven children. Lena spent her adult life caring for her family, while also spending numerous summers working for Stanislaus Food Products in the cannery. She enjoyed caring for children, teaching catechism, cooking, drinking coffee, playing cards, researching genealogy, working on jigsaw puzzles, having fun with company, and making people smile. The number of lives she positively influenced is impossible to count, as she was a devoted witness for her Lord, whom she served daily.
Surviving her are her husband Tony; son Anthony Mendes, daughter-in-law Renee Mendes, grandchildren Cynthia and Chris Mendes; daughter Maria Bult, son-in-law Matt Bult, grandchildren Alex and Nicolas Bult; daughter Josephine Lucas, son-in-law Tom Lucas, grandchildren Michelle Tolliver (Jeremy) and Nicole Brooke (Stephen), great-grandchildren Sierra Tolliver, Nolen Brooke, Jolena Brooke, Lazarus Brooke; son Robert Mendes, daughter-in-law Deborah Mendes, grandchildren Skylar and Karyss Mendes; daughter-in-law Jennifer Mendes, grandchild Veronica Mendes; son Joseph Mendes, daughter-in-law Melanie Mendes, grandchildren Allison, Natalie, and Ethan Mendes; daughter Anne Madden, and son-in-law John Madden. She is preceded in death by her son, Paul Mendes; her parents, Leonardo and Josephine Grimaldi; her brother Benjamin Grimaldi; and her sisters Rita Benenati and Carmen Nancett.
A visitation will be held at Franklin & Downs McHenry Chapel on Tuesday, January 7th from 4-6 pm, followed by a recitation of the Rosary at 6 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church on Wednesday, January 8th at 10 am. Burial will follow at St. Stanislaus Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org and by giving your family a hug from Nana. The family expresses its appreciation to Provident Care and Community Hospice for their outstanding service.
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