On August 13, 2020, Patricia Winter Mendius, (“Pat”), peacefully passed away at the age of 96 in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Her daughter, Louise Mendius, was by her side, while her other children were with her spiritually, but not physically, because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Pat was born July 9, 1924 in Davenport, Iowa to Helen Dodd and Otho E. Winter. The family moved to Ashland, Wisconsin, where Pat attended the Ashland High School and attended Northland College for one year. She then moved to Los Angeles, California with her family and attended UCLA from which she graduated with a BA cum laude in English. She received her MA cum laude from the University of New Mexico in 1966.
In June 1947, Pat married John R. Mendius, and together they raised four children, J. Richard Mendius, Jr., M.D., Catherine M. Graber, J.D., E. Louise Mendius, M.B.A., and Karen M. Chooljian, M.S. They moved from Los Angeles, California, to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Farmington, New Mexico, and ultimately to Los Alamos, New Mexico, where they lived for 57 years.
Pat loved to read, and words were one of her passions. She loved poetry and the English language and enjoyed imparting this passion to her students. She taught English at the Marlborough School for Girls in Los Angeles, Farmington High School, and was the chair of the English Department at Los Alamos High School from 1963-1986. Her students loved her teaching and respected her, although they cringed at the tremendous amount of work, she would require of them during the year. Pat was an Adjunct Professor at the University of New Mexico–Los Alamos and wrote and developed the Advanced Placement English test for the National College Board. In 1987, she joined the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a Senior Technical Writer-Editor, a position that she enjoyed to her retirement in 2005.
Another of Pat’s loves was music. She sang professionally in Los Angeles, where she won the Atwater Kent award, and continued to be a soloist wherever she lived. One of her favorite roles was Katasha in Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Mikado.” She also sang the role of the Mother Superior in Los Alamos Light Opera’s production of “The Sound of Music.”
Pat was active in her community and many organizations, including AAUW, Phi Beta Kappa, DAR, the Los Alamos Concert Association, and the Los Alamos Mesa Public Library Board. She was selected as a “Living Treasure” of Los Alamos in 2005.
Pat was preceded in death by her mother and father, her sister Helen Joan, and by her husband of 50 years, John Mendius. She is survived all of her children and 7 grandchildren.
Pat was a gracious, loving, witty wife, mother, and friend who touched many, many lives. She will be missed. A memorial service will be held at a later date because of the COVID-19 restrictions. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to the Los Alamos Concert Association, P.O. Box 572, Los Alamos, NM 87544; Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer at https://ww5.komen.org; or the Friends of the Mesa Public Library at https://www.friends-lac-libraries.org. The family of Patricia Winter Mendius (“Pat”) has entrusted the care of their loved one to the DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Espanola Valley. 505-747-7477 www.devargsfuneral.com