Erica Renee Mendoza
November 13, 1971 – March 20, 2019
Erica Renee De Soto Mendoza
November 13, 1971 - March 20th, 2019
Erica Renee De Soto Mendoza of Santa Paula passed away at the age of 47 on March 20th, 2019 due to an ongoing battle with lung disease. She was the second of five children born to her parents Robert and Mary Alice De Soto on November 13th 1971 in the city of Ventura.
Erica attended elementary and middle school in Santa Paula, but left home at 16 to attend a Job Corps in Utah. It was here that she met her husband to be, Kay Larry Mendoza, who was also from California. The two were married on April 11th, 1990 in Salt Lake City, and moved back to Santa Paula soon after. Erica gave birth to her first son, Randall Richard Mendoza in 1991, and her second son Nathan Nicholas Mendoza in 1994.
Erica and Kay seperated in 2000, leaving her to raise two boys on her own. She picked up a job as a waitress while also attending Ventura College. She soon realized how good she was at her job, and how much she enjoyed it, and decided to become a server full time as a means to financially support her two boys.
Erica was an adventurer through and through. She loved to cook, she loved music and she loved movies. She loved to take spontaneous road trips and jumped at any opportunity for a change in scenery, especially when nature was involved. Erica made it a point to see as many sunsets as she possibly could, and tried her very best to howl at every single full moon. She was a frequent visitor of Hollywood California, as she loved the city and the “weirdos” who populated it. In 2008 Erica and her mother traveled to New York City for the trip of a lifetime. She fell in love with the city and visited again with her mother just a couple of years later.
In 2013, the same week her mother Mary Alice De Soto passed away, Erica was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis. After spending 2 weeks there, it was made clear that Erica would need the constant support of oxygen through portable tanks, and a home concentrator to live life normally. It soon became apparent to her physicians that her lungs were damaged beyond repair, and transplant would be her only means of recovery.
Erica didn’t let this stop her from living her life. If anything, she lived more than ever in her last six years of life. She started the road to transplant, which included trials such as weight loss, constant appointments at her new primary hospital Keck Medical Center of USC and counseling meetings. She fell in love with the people she met at her daily meetings and made genuine friends. Erica also took two of her nephews, Julian and Jesus, into her home for over a year, caring for them on her own while they were in need of a home.
Her faith in the lord increased exponentially during this time. She was re-baptized in 2014 and she completely devoted herself to becoming a woman of god who was a prominent member of her church, Free Will Baptist.
Unfortunately, Erica’s lungs got weaker and weaker as each year passed. Before she was given the opportunity to receive a transplant, she passed away while admitted to Keck Medical center. She leaves behind her two sons Randall Mendoza (27) and Nathan Mendoza (25).