Joel Mendez Bolaños, 84, passed away peacefully at his home on September 2, 2022 from complications due to congestive heart failure. Although his final days were difficult, Joel left this world knowing that he was dearly loved by his wife and children. Joel was preceded in death by his parents Paulino and Escolastica; siblings Lola, Leonel and Gudelio; and son Joel C. He is survived by his wife Esperanza; children Hope, Joelle, Sandra (Scott), Nora (Albert), Liza, Ivy (Jason), and Gina (John); grandchildren Noelle (Austin), Julie Ann, Briana, Jordan, Leah, Presley, Sebi Pierce, Liliana; and great-grandchild Preston Joel.
Joel was born in San Miguel Tlacotepec in Oaxaca, Mexico. He left school at a very early age to begin working to support his family. In the pursuit of work, Joel relocated to Puebla then to Mexico City. During this span of years he worked as a farmer, rancher, transporter, grocer, taxi driver, and a baker. It was as a baker that Joel met the love of his life, Esperanza. Joel traveled back and forth from Mexico to the United States to work at the League Ranch in West Texas. At the League Ranch, Joel worked for and met his best friend Stanton Brown. Joel married his beloved Esperanza and permanently relocated to Texas in 1966. Joel was promoted to Farm Manager around 1972, a position he held until he left in 1985.
Joel took a position in maintenance and bus driving for Benjamin ISD. He cherished the community of Benjamin and dedicated his talents to the school where he worked by constructing the football field's press box, the concession stand, the bus barn, and the BBQ pit. Joel was an integral part of his community by remaining a devout member of the Santa Rosa Catholic Church and volunteering for the Benjamin Fire Department. Some of Joel’s most lively memories came from working as a scare actor annually for the BFD “haunted house”.
To his family and to those who truly knew him, Joel was a storyteller whose anecdotes included bad jokes, tales of clandestine adolescent mischief, and inventing conspiracy theories to explain why Steph Curry never missed a shot. Joel was a talented artist, and he wrote songs and played the guitar beautifully. Joel made amazing food using produce grown in his own garden, and he loved to smoke enough brisket to feed a large crowd. Joel continued his passions in retirement, as he moved to Belton, Texas. There, he enjoyed visits from his children and grandchildren. He also continued his hobbies of welding, gardening and of course, barbecuing.
The memorial service will be held at Harper-Talasek Funeral Home in Belton, Texas on Saturday, September 24, 2022 at 2pm. To share a memory, condolence, or send flowers visit www.harpertalasek.com.