Robin Diane Mendoza: Pioneer in AIDS patient care
Mother, registered nurse, pioneer in AIDS patient care
Robin Mendoza, a 35-year Claremont resident and avid reader of the COURIER, died October 19, 2017, after a lifelong battle with Type 1 Diabetes. She was 59 years old.
She married her high school sweetheart, José Mendoza, when she was just 18. Her 42-year marriage to Mr. Mendoza, who would go on to graduate from Claremont McKenna College and the Drucker School, produced two children, Jayson and Diana.
In 1986, Mrs. Mendoza earned an associate’s degree in nursing from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, and became a registered nurse. She later earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
In 1988, appalled at the treatment of AIDS patients, she joined one of the first AIDS units in Southern California, offering patients who had been turned away from other hospitals a way to obtain medical treatment with dignity and respect. Many of her patients returned to spend their final days under Mrs. Mendoza’s care, including one of the doctors who had founded the unit and had become one of her close friends.
She later became the director of nursing and then branch manager of a home infusion agency—a new industry created by the needs of the AIDS epidemic—that set up IVs for patients in the comfort of their own homes.
Mrs. Mendoza continued working in the medical field until 2015, most recently at the San Gabriel Pomona Regional Center in Pomona. She also participated in Claremont community events, including the Citizen’s Police Academy, and was a member of the Claremont Community Emergency Response Team.
She leaves behind scores of friends and colleagues, as well as two spoiled rescue dogs; however, the light of her life was her family.
After 59 years on earth, her family shared, it was her final week—surrounded by friends and family, laughing and talking—that she deemed among the best days of her life.