This memorial website was created in the memory of our Mother, Charlene Elizabeth Conrad Mendes who was born on July 22, 1947 and passed away on May 14, 2010. We will remember and love her forever.

A special tribute to our mother from her loving children, this permanent memorial was created to share her memory so that our children and their children will be able to experience her beautiful life through those who loved her and who's life was touched by her love.  We are grateful that you are part of our celebration of her life!

We encourage you to share your memories, communicate stories, thoughts, or anecdotes, share photos and videos.  

 Memorial Service Information

The date of the Memorial Service celebrating the life of our Mom will be held on Sunday, June 6th at 12:30 pm.  It will take place at:

First Baptist Church of Los Angeles
Service held in the Francis Chapel
760 South Westmoreland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA  90005
(213) 384-2151

You can access information about the church and get directions via the below link:


Her Children

Doreen, Sheri and Brian




Posted by Sheri Bowen on July 25, 2019
Thinking of you mom as we say our goodbyes to another parent in the family. Scott’s dad, Bob King has left this world and has entered the gates of heaven. I know you are there to welcome him home. 
You are always strong in our hearts and memories.
XOXOXOXOXOX...lovingly, your daughter. 
Posted by Brian Carriger on July 22, 2018
Happy Birthday mom you’re always in my heart I mis you a lot and can’t wait for the day we will be together again
Love you always and forever
Posted by Sheri Blackwood on May 14, 2012

You are truly missed and will always remain alive in out thoughts and traditions!

Posted by Doreen, Sheri, Brian & Fa... on July 22, 2011
Missing you tonight Mom as we celebrate your birthday today. Sending you much love and kisses to Heaven as we continue to celebrate your loving memory here on earth! Until we meet again... XOXOXO! 
Love Your Eldest Daughter, Doreen Elizabeth
Posted by Brian Carriger on July 22, 2011
WE are celebrating your Birthday in our HEARTS we will always remember your birthday I miss you and will see you again soon the second coming of CHRIST IS NEAR I LOVE YOU MOM HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Posted by Veronica Acosta on July 22, 2011
Happy Birhtday Charlene! you where truely one of a kind and deeply missed. You remain in of hearts for all eternity! bunch of hugs and kisses from the Acosta Family <3
Posted by Sheri Blackwood on July 22, 2011
Mom, I am really missing you on this day we would normally celebrate you being with us. The day is only possible to get through knowing you are here with us in Spirit. Love forever!!!
Posted by Donna Steele on June 5, 2010
You and I grew up playing, laughing and crying together. There are so many memories of just being cousins. I will miss you and smile when I think of all the memories. Donna
Posted by Veronica Acosta on June 1, 2010
Charlene, We thank you for showing us that even though there is bad in the world there is always MORE of the positive. We love you and miss you dearly.
Luv Veronica, Armando Sr., Lani, and Lil Mando
Posted by Ken Mendes on June 1, 2010
Charlene, thank you for always being there for me and being a wonderful stepmother. I love you and you will be in my heart forever. You will be missed very much by all who knew you
Posted by Tammy Wheeler on June 1, 2010
Forever will be remembered your infection "family" smile and laugh...Luk 1:79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace."
Posted by Doreen, Sheri, Brian & Fa... on May 28, 2010
Mom,thank you for teaching and showing us the true meaning of unconditional love! You will live in our hearts forever. Consider yourself hugged! Until we meet again.
Doreen, Sheri, Brian XOXOXO
Posted by Jennifer Hicks on May 28, 2010
Charlene, though it has been many years. You were special to my heart, though the sprit leaves the body the memories will always remain. you are in everyones hearts.
Jennifer & Alicia Hicks & family

Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Posted by Sheri Bowen on July 25, 2019
Thinking of you mom as we say our goodbyes to another parent in the family. Scott’s dad, Bob King has left this world and has entered the gates of heaven. I know you are there to welcome him home. 
You are always strong in our hearts and memories.
XOXOXOXOXOX...lovingly, your daughter. 
Posted by Brian Carriger on July 22, 2018
Happy Birthday mom you’re always in my heart I mis you a lot and can’t wait for the day we will be together again
Love you always and forever
Posted by Sheri Blackwood on May 14, 2012

You are truly missed and will always remain alive in out thoughts and traditions!

Recent stories

A Daughter's Eulogy of a Life Celebrated

Shared by Sheri Blackwood on June 9, 2010

Just a week before my mom’s passing I wrote in her Mother’s Day card that I was excited for the coming year. I felt because of the good fortune that was finally being sent her way, that it would be a year filled with hope, joy, and new adventures that she would take pleasure in. Little did I know that God had a much bigger and greater adventure prepared for her, and I take solace in knowing that HIS plan is always better than our own. However, had I known it would be the last card I would write her… I would have dramatically changed my words. So with not wanting to live in regret, I have written some of what I would have written, so I could share a bit of my mom with you today.

My mom was a woman of CHARACTER who lived by core values and basic rules.  She taught us to be kind and courteous to others, that there is a God and He is tangible and alive in our lives, that you play with good sportsmanship, that you surround yourself with good friends, you work hard and strive often to go that little bit extra, to be creative and find worth in what others consider trash, and that it is important to finish your commitments without quitting prematurely. I appreciated these lessons and I have found that by practicing them I find success in all facets in my life.
As a child my mom was ACTIVE in our school. She worked on the PTA board, did unique programs to encourage kids to read, and single handedly convinced our school that 6th grade camp was a must for every child to experience.
My mom was a CREATIVE soul and her talents were something to be admired. First, she had the gift of music. Our house was often filled with her singing or humming her favorite songs. As a child I often sat with pride in the sanctuary of this very church to watch her sing with the choir.   Secondly, my mom loved to make crafts. She could take everyday household items, and even what most would consider trash, and turn them into treasures. One summer when I was a kid she collected 5 gallon buckets from 31 flavors so that my friends and I could make personalized trash cans by pasting magazine pictures of our hobbies on the outside of the bin. I loved that trashcan! On another occasion I witnessed her staying up all night to recreate a human size Crest toothpaste costume for my brother. The next morning she was putting the final touches of the costume as she wrote every symbol and letter from the back of the tube onto this costume. No detail was too small for her. It was no wonder my brother usually won the Halloween costume contests. Thirdly, she was a terrific cook. Some of her signature dishes have been so popular that all of us kids have taken a few and made them our own over the years. After this service you will have a chance to enjoy a few of her favorites, such as her Spaghetti salad, ham & cream cheese appetizers and the Chinese Chicken salad. Lastly, she had her famous Christmas trees made from the cardboard rolls from toilet paper. Again, what we think of trash she could turn into treasures with a bit of craftiness and creativity. They were so popular that she would ask family and friends to save those DARN rolls. I often felt guilty when I threw them away instead of giving them to her first. She also loved to pass on these craft secrets and today I am proud to say that my sister, son, and I have made these Christmas trees and can pass the tradition on to others.          
My mom was DEVOTED & LOVING towards others, which may explain her working in retirement care facilities for over 25 years. She liked to hear of individuals life stories and was able to remember even the tiniest details by memory for years after. She remained lifelong friends with each of the men she loved in her life and kept active friendships with each of their extended families. My mom was that type of person who would make a lifelong friend by simply starting a conversation in the local grocery store. She also loved her family! She had such pride in her parents and siblings and was with each of them during their lengthy and difficult battles with Diabetes. It was difficult for her to be the oldest child in her family and to have been the last survivor of them. However, she persevered and carried on and we are all comforted in knowing that they are now all reunited again in Heaven.  
My mom was a person of TRADITION who felt strongly about family customs and was very committed to knowing the importance of each branch of our family tree. For many of us, we feel we have lost one of the historians in our family.  
And Lastly, my mom could be FUNNY… she could tell stories that seem to go on forever even if she knew you were in a hurry. She had this way of starting a story by saying do you remember so and so? She is a member of the church and she is married to Mr. so and so? Come on… you must remember her, she has white hair (but when she was younger it was blond) and she usually wore bright colors and had two daughters that were younger than you? Seeing that I still didn’t recall who she was talking about she’d go on to elaborate on more details which usually brought more confusion to my already cloudy memory. In the end I would find out she was taking about one of the ladies who knew me when I was in the nursery here at First Baptist and that I hadn’t seen much since. That was my mom and those stories would just make us laugh. 

In conclusion, I thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to be my mom’s daughter and for the lessons she taught me along the way. We will continue on by continuing to practice her lessons and in celebrating her traditions.   

Charlene's Thoughfulness

Shared by Terry King on June 7, 2010

Even though I have been part of Doreen and Sheri's lives for many years, the times I have spent with Charlene were usually just holidays and family occasions. There is one time that I always think of when I think of her, though........ Sam and I were sharing a house in Irvine with Sheri and Albert (A.J.). Charlene came over to see the family for Christmas. She gave Sheri and Doreen each a magnet with their names on it. She actually couldn't find the correct spelling of Sheri's name so she bought two magnets, cut them and glued them to make her name. When I saw that, at first I thought it was kind of a strange thing to do. The more I thought about it, though, that showed just how special her kids were to her. She wanted to give them a personalized gift and did what she needed to in order to do that. To me, this is a small example of what a thoughtful and giving person she was......especially to her family. She has given the rest of us the best gift of all by teaching her children to be such thoughtful and giving people to us.

Lessons of Love From My Mother

Shared by Doreen, Sheri, Brian & Fa... on June 6, 2010

My Mom was one of the most sentimental people I’ve ever known.  She found joy and love in the really simple things in life.  Whether it was making a banner for our softball team, singing a song, making one of the crafts she was famous for, or simply sharing a story from her childhood; it was the things that often pass others by -- that she stopped to love and enjoy. 

I always admired how lovingly she spoke of her parents, her sister Gayle and brother Ed.  Although she admitted none of them were perfect; when she talked about them you would’ve thought they were.  She was so proud of her heritage and loved sharing stories of the Conrad and Tompkins families.  I used to love going with her to the Conrad family gatherings and on our trips to Oregon and Idaho to visit the Tompkins clan.  As a single Mom she made those trips memorable and exciting.        

She loved to go back and visit places of sentimental value to her and kept life long friends.  Even when her marriages ended, the friendships and family remained apart of her life.  (Which makes for a lengthy Christmas card list for us each year, but I wouldn’t want it any other way)!  It was through her ability to give love to others, even in times when it was difficult, that she proved “love really can conquer all”.  It’s because of this that I have so many people to love and support me in my life – and for this I am forever grateful!  It was through her example that I knew undoubtedly I could embrace an open adoption with our son, Nathan’s biological family.  Not many people understood my decision at the time, but my Mom did.  Almost five years later her example has given our son a more enriched life – with an extended family that also loves and supports him.  Throughout his own life, her legacy will continue. 

Some of my favorite memories of my Mom are spending Sunday’s here at First Baptist Church.  I remember sitting as a child in the choir loft during Sunday Service and seeing my mom across the sanctuary sitting with the choir.  She would catch our eyes and send us a special message from across the church – the I Love You Sign.  A simple hand gesture to some, but to me it meant everything because it was the symbol of my mother’s love and could be heard even far away! 

My Mom suffered much loss in her life!  From not being able to see her children for six years when we were young, to the loss of both of her parents and brother during that same period, then watching her younger sister lose her battle with ovarian cancer after having battled diabetes all her life – I am amazed at how resilient my Mom was. 

It’s no wonder why she was a bit of a “pack rat”.  She kept everything in the hopes she could use it as part of a craft project one day like “toilet tube” roles, which she used to create Christmas Tree decorations each year.  And although her “pack rat” side held many years of trauma for us kids, having had to move her so many times in recent years, the advantage has been the amount of family history she captured which we are grateful for – especially now that her side of the family has all passed.   

Some of the treasures we found are Conrad and Tompkins photo albums going back 2-3 generations.  All of her recipes on 3x5 cards typed out, boxes and boxes of ribbons, yarn, and toilet paper tubes – all ready to make crafts in a moments notice!   

As a young child, she had a nurturing spirit, which carried on into her adulthood.  To many her job as a Facilities Director of a Retirement home may have seemed menial.  But really it was quite profound.  It takes a special person to care for those who are sick and elderly.  She befriended many in their 80-90’s who were living out their last days in a nursing home.  She was frequently with them when they passed away; often without their own family present. She had a heart so large that you could get lost in it and a spirit of joy that everyone who met her felt.  This is one of the most beautiful gifts God gave my Mom and I will always admire her for. 

She was a “giver” and when she committed to something; she stuck with it until the end.  For example, each year even when she didn’t have any money, she found creative ways to be able to donate Christmas Trees for First Baptist Church.  A commitment her children plan to keep this upcoming Christmas season. 

Looking back over my life today, I see the influence of my mother all along the way.  She taught me the true meaning of unconditional love, the importance of faith, the value in keeping your commitments, the power in the I Love You Sign and the words to the song Skidamarinkadinkadink -- and so much more! 

It was her wisdom and her prayers that have guided me along through life to this point, and even though she is gone, I know that she will continue to be there with me to guide me on through life.  She was loved, she will be missed, but we will meet again! 


Your Eldest Daughter,