Miguel J. Mejía, 89, passed into glory on Monday, January 18, 2021, at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, with his wife by his side. He valiantly fought complications of COVID-19 to his last breath.
He was born on September 28, 1931, in Santa Monica, CA, to Abraham and Elvira Mejía. As a young man, Miguel worked for Standard Oil as a roustabout. At 21, he was inducted into the U.S. Army and served on the front lines of the Korean War, honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant. He received a B.A. in Elementary Education from San Fernando Valley State College. He later acquired Bilingual/Bicultural Training and a K-8 Counseling Credential from UC Santa Cruz. His 38-year career in education included 21 years of teaching elementary, middle school, high school, and community college classes, and 17 years of counseling at Washington Middle and Lincoln Elementary Schools. He influenced the lives of countless young people in Sepulveda, South Lake Tahoe, Santa Monica, and Salinas.
Miguel was an active participant in the Salinas Elks Lodge, Salinas Sunrise Toastmasters, Kiwanis Club of Monterey, Salinas Library Literacy Program, C.A.S.A. of Monterey County (foster child advocacy), and English as a Second Language program at Salinas Valley Community Church.
As an avid skier, Miguel served in the National Ski Patrol for over 30 years. He was passionate about tennis and enjoyed playing at Central Park, Chamisal Tennis Club, USTA tournaments, and international competitions. Over the years, he sponsored ski and tennis clubs, hosting groups of students in his beloved mountain home. If not on the slopes or courts, you might find him cutting a rug on the dance floor.
Miguel was a selfless man of God, a lover of truth, and a grateful recipient of God's grace. He was a caring and compassionate man with an infectious smile, who loved to hear people's stories so he could encourage them. As a result, he made friends wherever he went. Though fiercely competitive, he was a gentleman on and off the court and highly respected by his peers.
Miguel is survived by his wife, Barbara, of 36 years, daughters Cathleen Dominguez and Dorothy (Jerry) Knapp, sons Michael (Lori) and Marc, ten grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, four great-great-grandchildren, sisters Lucille Ruiz and Matilda Ruiz Padilla, sister-in-law Angelina, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, sons Michael and Christopher, and brothers Leonard and Rocky.
SVMH doctors Shawo and LaBroo gave Miguel excellent care as did all staff and nurses who tended to him. Miguel's final wish was that everyone take COVID-19 precautions seriously and accept the vaccine when it is available.
An online celebration of life will be held by Salinas Valley Community Church (svcc.net) at 12 p.m. on February 3, 2021. Bermudez Family Funerals cared for mortuary services. Interment will be at Central Coast Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Three of Miguel's favorite charities were Dorothy's Place, Operation Underground Railroad, and Compassion International. Blessed be his memory.