Native son and legendary master tailor, Mariano Mendez passed last weekend at the age of 80 years old.
He was born and raised in in the LaVilla Area of Jacksonville, FL, where his birth home still stands. In 1927 his father opened P. Mendez Cuban Tailors in the Masonic Temple downtown. As a child, his father Mariano, Sr. (an early Cuban immigrant from Santiago) taught him the tailoring and weaving. By age 17 he was a Master Tailor.
He graduated from Stanton High School in 1957 and was offered a full scholarship to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University where he joined the famed Marching 100 Band. He graduated from FAMU in 1961 and was immediately drafted into the United States Marine Corps.
Before leaving for his tour, he married his sweetheart the former Gloria Watts.
Following the military, Mendez was hired as one of the first African-American Correctional Officers at the Florida State Prison at Raiford. Shortly thereafter, he joined the Duval Public School System in 1966 where he taught as a math and driver’s education teacher until 1976. In 1975, he decided while still teaching, to open his own tailoring business on Beach Blvd in Jacksonville FL. The store was so busy he was able to retire from teaching at age 37 and went into business full-time.
He was the personal Tailor to many local and state politicians, media personalities, entertainers and professional athletes. His reputation soon was known all over the country and he had loyal customers throughout the country.
Mendez leaves to cherish his memory: a loving and devoted wife of 56 Years Gloria Watts-Mendez; children Mariano, Jr. (Shermia); Selena, Mariana, Padrica, Andre; sister Padrica; brother Pedro, and a host of nieces nephews, cousins, and dear friends.
His arrangements are as follows: Thursday, September 12th – Viewing and Rosary 4 PM – 7 PM at Holmes Glover Solomon Mortuary; September 13th, 1:30pm VA Cemetery – Interment and Saturday, September 14th – Memorial Mass and Reception St. Pius Catholic Church. For more information call 904-629-1334.