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Pilsen Teacher and Muralist, Francisco Mendoza, 53, Dies of Cancer

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Francisco Gerardo Mendoza age 53 passed away on March 12, 2012. Surrounded by family and friends at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Illinois. He was an esteemed colleague and great friend to all, and beloved teacher to many students.

Mendoza was born in Blue Island, Illinois on June 5, 1958. He graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1984 with a BA in Fine Arts and a certificate in Art Education. Mendoza became an art teacher in 1985, and was passionate in teaching his students about the history and culture of Mexico.

He was a Golden Apple finalist and received an OPPY Award for Excellence in Teaching for his work at the Jose Clemente Orozco School and throughout the Pilsen and South Chicago communities. Mendoza was lauded for his work as an artist and 25 years of award-winning teaching.

Some of his artistic achievements included a mural at the South Chicago YMCA; a mosaic mural project at Cooper Upper Cycle School; murals at Pilsen Resurrection Church; a mosaic mural at the 18th Street CTA ‘El’ train station, which was the first train station to be painted in Chicago; one of the largest Venetian glass mosaic mural projects in Chicago, which was installed on the front façade of Jose Clemente Orozco School. Many of his major projects included the collaboration of his students in the Pilsen community.

“I’ve poured my heart and soul into these projects. I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been really beautiful,” Mendoza said of his artistic achievements.

In April 2010, he was diagnosed with cancer (multiple myeloma).

“I’ve poured my heart and soul into these projects.” – Francisco G. Mendoza

Tú no eres olvidada amado Hijo, Hermano, Tio, Maestro y Amigo , ni nunca lo serás. El tiempo que la vida dure y la memoria perdure, siempre te recordaremos. Te extrañamos ahorita y nuestros corazones duelen. Mientras el tiempo pasa. Más te estañaremos. Tu linda sonrisa y tu cara amable, nadie podrá llenar el vacío que dejastes.

You are not forgotten loved one Nor will you ever be. As long as life and memory last we will remember you. “We miss you now, our hearts are sore. As time goes by we’ll miss you more. Your loving smile your gentle face no one can fill your vacant place.

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