Hope Mendoza Schechter died peacefully at the Los Angeles Jewish Home in Reseda, California on April 1, 2019 at the age of 97. She is survived by her son Bruce Schechter of Sherman Oaks, CA, her siblings Mike Martinez of Montebello, CA, Anna Martinez of Sun City, CA, Lydia Acosta of Monrovia, CA and her niece Christine Campbell (Tom) of Valencia, CA, and many additional family members and close friends.
Hope was preceded in death by her husband Harvey Bernard Schechter, her parents Maria Salas and Edward Martinez of San Gabriel, CA, and Selzo Acosta of Miami, AZ, and her (deceased Siblings: Juan Acosta of Miami, AZ, Ralph Acosta of Los Angeles, Rachel Haro of Whittier, Esther Ballesteros of El Monte, CA, Becky Martinez of San Gabriel, CA, Sammy Martinez of Los Angeles, CA, Joey Martinez of Pico Rivera, CA, Emily Touchstone of Las Vegas, NV)
Hope's early childhood was spent in Los Angeles where she was the eldest of twelve (children and a part time caretaker to her siblings. Hope was disciplined and always had a strong work ethic.
In September ,1950 Hope met Harvey Schechter . The two worked on a grant to study the ILGWU-International Ladies Garment Workers' Union. They began dating, fell in love and were married in March of 1955. Their marriage lasted for sixty years until Harvey's passing. Harvey noted prior to his death that their wedding was a big deal back in the day as Mexican American women did not marry Jewish men, especially in a ceremony performed by a rabbi.
In 1970, Hope and Harvey welcomed their nephew Bruce into their home and their lives. They raised him and nurtured him into adulthood.
Other points of interest
Judaism: Hope converted to Judaism after marrying Harvey.
Career: She worked as a business agent and trade union organizer with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union
Was owner/operator of Schechter Deposition Service.
Volunteerism: Was a founding member of the California Democratic Council and a Member of the Democratic State Central Committee.
Volunteered with National Council of Jewish Women
Was appointed by President Johnson to the Peace Corps National Advisory Council
Was a Board Member of the Mexican American Youth Opportunities Foundation and the Council of Mexican American Affairs
Education: She attended L.A. Valley College, and then CSUN where she graduated with a BA in History
She was a Harvard University Trade Union Fellow
Oral History Project: Hope is included in the “Influential Women of California" Oral History Project published through UC Berkeley.
Hope's historical transcript describes her activism in the Labor Movement, the Democratic Party and the Mexican-American Community. This work is a "Scholar Selection" for its cultural importance.
Entertaining : Hosted backyard parties which included the movers and shakers of CA political life including Carmen Warshaw, Congressman Henry Waxman, and Congressman Howard Berman who were all friends. Also held numerous weddings, Seders and pool parties in her backyard.
Activities Hope Enjoyed: The L.A. Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall, shows and plays, Dodger games, sewing, reading, painting, dance, yoga, museums and jewelry making, cooking, dining at restaurants and traveling with friends, and lifelong learning at LA Valley College.
Travel: She and Harvey (and Bruce in the 60's and 70's) traveled to many places including Japan, China, Hawaii, Korea, Canada , France, Branson, Missouri, Las Vegas, the civil war battlefields, sailed on cruises, and more. They often drove to Santa Barbara to Harvey's alma mater UCSB . Harvey was a trustee there and he and Hope developed a close friendship with UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang and his wife Dilling.
Food faves: Hope loved Mexican food and chiles . Potato chips and chicharrones were her weakness.
Beauty secret: Hope attributed her beautiful skin and complexion to her nightly regimen of applying Vaseline