Kathy Mendenhall was born Kathy Lynn Smith on Jan 10, 1958 to Alice and Raymond Smith, at Fort MacArthur Hospital in San Pedro, CA. She was born looking just like her father with pitch black hair, but with her mother’s sweet spirit. She was quickly followed by her first friend, her brother Guy in Nov 1958. In 1959 her family moved to France, as her military father was deployed there. She started preschool in France learning both French and English. In 1961 her fathers position was moved to Williamsburg Virginia, where she would spend most of her childhood, and where a sister, Mary, joined the family in 1962. This was a tumultuous time in Kathy’s life, as her father did two tours in Vietnam while her mother worked two jobs. In 1969 her parents divorced, her pregnant mother, two siblings and a pregnant dog left Virginia and drove cross country to Long Beach, CA. Kathy remembered being the lookout and babysitter when her mother stopped to sleep during the day. Once in Long Beach, her mother gave birth to another sister, Donnell. And also met her future Dad (she never called him step Dad), David Islander. David and Alice married in November 1970, and David liked to joke how many people get to have their kids at their wedding?! June 1971 another sister, Deborah, joined the family. Kathy attended Hamilton JR High, then Jordan High School both in Long Beach, where she met the love of her life, Don Mendenhall. She graduated 1976, and married Don Dec 30, 1977. Their first baby boy Darren was born March 1979, followed by Cory in Feb 1981. She was an active, doting mom. Soccer mom, baseball mom, active in PTA, often as a single parent as Don worked shift schedule at Proctor & Gamble. In 1988 they made the difficulty decision to relocate to Citrus Heights for Dons job. She left behind her friends and family and relocated. She quickly became involved in the boys activities. She also went back to school for tax preparation which she did for 20 years with H&R Block, then she worked concurrently for the State of CA for 19 years. Summers were spent having block parties, having family -especially nieces and nephews and the grandkids come visit and spoil them. Once she retired, she traveled the world with her love and best friend Don. Going to Mexico, Alaska, Panama, New Zealand, Austrailia, Ireland, Scotland and England, where one of her favorite memories was meeting Gordon Ramsey. She struggled with her health a bit, so she decided on Bariatric surgery. Which she was so proud of, making her happier and healthier, while also meeting amazing people through her Bariatric group. During this time she also adopted her great nephew, David. Instantly falling in love with this young man, she was so proud to become his mom. In October 2020 she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and she fought hard during those 3 months!
Kathy’s premature death on 1/19 came just after her 63rd birthday on 1/10/21
Kathy was loved by so many and will be greatly missed. She was preceded in death by her parents, David and Alice Islander and her brother Guy. She is survived by her loving husband of 43 years, Don, her sons Darren, Cory and David, her daughter in laws Megan and Sasha, grandchildren Arianna, George, and Evelyn, sisters Mary, Donnell and Deborah, 6 nieces and nephews, 2 great nieces, 1 great nephew and countless friends. We hope she is forever remembered for her caring heart and the depth of her love for her family!
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