James Paul Mendoza Jr. was born July 11, 1973, to James Paul Sr. and Maria Mendoza in Oxford, Mississippi. James Sr. was a financial planner, and Maria owned and operated a small clothing boutique. James was their first child, and due to complications at his birth, he would be their only child. They wanted the best for James Jr., so Paul Sr. planned well for his future.
James was a happy child, but he didn’t like conflict and got very angry when things didn’t turn out the way he wanted. He avoided fights and arguments among his friends. He wanted things to be peaceful and not interfere in his life.
He loved sports, especially basketball and baseball. Schoolwork was a breeze. During both grade and high school years, he excelled in everything he attempted. From an early age, his plan was to become a doctor, but he couldn’t decide which field. James graduated from Oxford High in 1992 with honors.
It was during that year James father became ill and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. He hated watching his father suffer with the disease, and it was at this time he chose gastroenterology as his field.
After high school, James attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biology in 1997. During the years to follow, he went to the University of Tennessee - Memphis where he obtained his medical degree and did a three-year residency. In 2003, he followed on with a fellowship in gastroenterology at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
During his time there, he met Virginia Jones, a secretary at the hospital. In June 2005, they were married. After completion of his fellowship in 2006, James and Virginia moved back to Oxford to begin a family and to be near his parents.
In 2007, James joined Dr. Veronica Smith and Dr. Hilton Burns as a partner at the Yoknapatawpha Gastroenterology Center in Oxford.