Romulo Mendez Molina, 83, of Cadiz passed away Thursday, January 6, 2022, at his home.

A celebration of life will be held Sunday, January 16, 2022, at 2 p.m. at King’s Funeral Home with Father Basilio officiating. Visitation will be Sunday, January 16, 2022 from 1-2 p.m. at King’s Funeral Home.

Survivors include his son, John K. Mendez (Rossana), of Sanford, N.C.; daughters, Maureen M. Llarena (Rafael) and Cindy Mendez, both of Cadiz; brothers, Carlos Mendez (Celest) of Chandler, Ariz. and Gustavo Mendez of Guatemala City, Guatemala; sister, Elizabeth Luther (Edgar) of Guatemala City, Guatemala; 10 grandchildren, Joshua Mendez, Timothy Mendez, Christina Mendez, John C. Mendez, Kenneth Mendez, Andy Llarena, Javier Llarena, Cristian Llarena, Rodrigo Llarena and Isabel Llarena; and two great grandchildren, Aria and Alivia.

He was born in Coban, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala on December 21, 1938, to Romulo Mendez Sical and Estela Molina Mendez. In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Margaret Bensen Mendez and several brothers.

Romulo was the middle sibling of seven, born and raised in the small town of Coban, which he loved and reminisced about all the time. He moved to Guatemala city, where he graduated as a Physical Education teacher. Since he was young, he loved sports and he kept on practicing them during his whole life. He held three national track and field records and was part of the national track and field team; coach for the Guatemalan track and field team to the 68 Olympics, and pitcher for the Guatemalan major league base-ball team. He coached track and field, softball, and soccer. He was a passionate physical education teacher and coach for over 50 years — He was a soccer, baseball, track and field and basketball referee/judge. He taught and coached over three generations — still being loved, remembered, respected and admired by all.

In order to achieve all of this, added to his passion he prepared himself well by attending various Universities. Since he was fluent in three languages it made it easier for him to achieve all his personal goals. He graduated as a teacher in Guatemala, and came to the United States to study at Arizona State University, University of Birmingham, Alabama; Stanford in California and Harvard.

Soccer wise, he broke barriers! He was a professional soccer player (1956-58) and part of the national soccer team, and only team to win the CONCACAF Latin-American title. He was the first Guatemalan Referee to officiate in three Soccer World Cups: Australia 1985 (Junior Cup), Spain (1982) and Mexico (1986). After 25 years of being a soccer referee in every continent in the World, he became a CONCACAF and FIFA Instructor. He also founded the Guatemalan National school for soccer referees.

He ended his official sports career when he received the Royal Order of Sports Merit from the Guatemalan government in 2012, but that didn’t stop him from being involved in sports.

One of his greatest accomplishments and pride was to be married to the love of his life for 50 years, Mary. He was a loving, dedicated and hardworking husband, father, father-in-law and grandfather.

He loved listening to music and grilling, joking, building, collecting, taking care of his garden and citrus trees, but most of all he loved spending time with his dear family and friends. Any excuse was an acceptable reason to have a get together at the house.

He always set high standards and exceptional example of hard work. Love and respect were a must. He was very proud of who he was in the most humble way, and he was very proud of his family. Family was and will always be a priority — he insisted we stuck together!

King’s Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.