Well known psychiatrist Dr. Mario Mendoza de Hoyos died peacefully in his Guadalajara home September 4 after a hearty breakfast on a beautiful morning. He was 93 years old, alert and in good health.
Mendoza and his wife Virginia (Ginny) Stannard were lights in the foreign community of Guadalajara after Mendoza retired here in 1989 from a position as chief of psychiatry at the Washington (D.C.) Adventist Hospital. Ginny had worked in the White House for Barbara Bush and Nancy Reagan and after retirement, the couple traveled frequently between their homes here and in New York. They were active in Guadalajara circles such as the American Society and St. Mark’s Anglican Church.
A friend called Mendoza, “a beautiful man, as classy and handsome as they come. He looked and sounded like he stepped right out of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. He always wore a suit, with his full head of hair slicked back and his dapper beret precisely tilted to one side. When he saw you, he hugged you, danced with you, sang to you, spoke impromptu poetry about you.”
Mendoza was born born in 1922 in Sabinas, Coahilla, in rural, northern Mexico and moved to Mexico City to study medicine at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). He worked as a dancer and in a medical laboratory to pay for school and, after finishing in the 1940s, he and his wife, Mildred Diehl, an adventuresome nurse from New York, went to Montemorelos, Nuevo León to help found a nursing school, which evolved into the Universidad de Montemorelos. Mendoza worked as a surgeon and medical director there and his first two children, David and Arturo, were born in the original hospital. At this time, he ventured into the Sierra Madre Occidental by plane to render medical care to the isolated Huichol people.
In 1956 Mendoza went to the Boston Children’s Hospital Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital to study pediatrics. Later, he studied psychiatry at Spring Grove Hospital Center, a teaching hospital of Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, renowned for its research into schizophrenia. He then settled in the Washington, D.C., area, where he was chief of psychiatry at the Washington Adventist Hospital and had a private outpatient practice. His daughter Elva was born in Takoma Park, Maryland.
Friends and relatives say that throughout his life Mendoza loved books, music and people, especially those who needed and wanted help, and that professionally he enjoyed the challenges of group therapy as well as the severely impaired.
Mendoza is survived by his siblings Bertha Mendoza Gayosso, Caesar Mendoza, Leonor Cardenas and numerous nieces and nephews; his children David Mario Mendoza Diehl (married to Marilyn Schott) of Washington, D.C., Arturo Eugenio Mendoza Diehl (married to Tina Ziainia, M.D.) of San Diego, California, and Elva Delia Mendoza de Hoxie of San Diego, and numerous grandchildren. His wife Mildred Diehl preceded him in death in 2013 and Ginny Stannard in 2012.
A memorial Mass for Mendoza will be celebrated Saturday, September 11 at St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Guadalajara.