Larry Frank Mendes, 69, died Tuesday, Nov. 13.
He was born to Frank and Velma Mendes in Newman, the oldest of four siblings. His family moved to Oakdale to start their own dairy where he milked the cows while attending Oakdale High School.
He became interested in rodeo, especially team roping. After he graduated high school in 1961 he joined the Oakdale Saddle Club and began attending Modesto Junior College and participating on their rodeo team. He became a very good roper and with some encouragement, joined the pro rodeo circuit known as the RCA. He began roping and working as a ranch cowboy fulltime.
Mr. Mendes met his wife in 1966 – Mariana Fielding – she was the Oakdale Rodeo Queen and by 1968 they were married and had a baby boy on the way.
By 1970, he became aware that he would need to bring in more income for his family, as cowboy pay isn’t very good. He hired on with the Oakdale Irrigation District, from where he eventually retired.
He was well liked by many people, he’ll be missed but good memories will remain.
He is survived by his son, Eric (Terri Horn) Mendes; mother, Velma Mendes; brother, Gary; and two grandchildren.
A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24 at the Oakdale Rodeo Grounds.