James Paul Mendoza Jr. was born July 11, 1963, 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 James Sr. planned well for his future.
James was a good-natured child, but he didn't like conflict and got very upset when things didn't turn out the way he wanted. He avoided fights and arguments among his friends. He wanted everything to be peaceful and not interfere with 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, he planned to become a doctor, but he couldn't decide which field. James graduated from Oxford High in 1981 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 1987. 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 1993, he followed on with a fellowship in gastroenterology at St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. After completing his fellowship in 1996, James moved back to Oxford to be near his parents. He went to work at the local hospital as one of their staff physicians.
James dated sporadically during his first several years back in Oxford, but everything changed when he met Virginia Jones, a secretary at the hospital. Even though she was quite a bit younger than James, the two of them clicked immediately, and they married in June 2005.
As the years went on, James began to tire of the regimented hospital schedule and dreamed of a position where he could make his own hours and maybe even save more money for the future. In 2013, James joined Dr. Veronica Smith and Dr. Hilton Burns as a partner at the Yoknapatawpha Gastroenterology Center in Oxford.
In the early years of their marriage, James and Virginia were so wrapped up in each other that they never thought about expanding their family, but as they approached their 10th anniversary, they both realized they wanted to add children to their happy home before it was too late. After several years of struggling with infertility, they were thrilled to learn last summer that they were expecting twins.