Small child standing next to seated man. A woman stands behind the man.

John Figaro with his parents, Manuel and Mary, c. 1890. (Eleanor Sverko Collection)

June 3, 1919 – John Figaro died in a New York hospital at the age of 32 after a short illness. At the time of his death, he was returning from his military service overseas.

Born in Mendocino in 1887, John was the oldest child of Manuel and Mary (Maderia-Saudades) Figaro. Manuel and Mary were married in the Azore Islands and immigrated to the Hawaiian Islands before May 1883. They moved to Mendocino and purchased property on Little Lake Road where they built their home. John attended school in Mendocino and later worked at the mills in Mendocino and Greenwood (Elk).

John was one of the first three men drafted from Mendocino to serve in World War I. In September 1917, he left for Ukiah to catch a train to Washington State with the other draftees from Mendocino County. John was placed with the 20th Engineers and sent to France in the Fall of 1917. The Forestry division also included Mendocino coast residents Dwight Kent and Emery Sweetzer. All three had experience in sawmill or logging work.

Before the 20th Engineers departed France after the end of the war, John became ill. He was hospitalized at the Base Hospital in Brest, where he recovered enough to make the journey back to the United States. Unfortunately, the rigorous ocean crossing and his weakened condition proved too much for him. Shortly before landing in New York, he fell ill again and was admitted to the hospital where he passed away.

John’s remains were transported to Mendocino, and his funeral was held on June 12th. Every business in town closed its doors, and people from neighboring areas attended to pay their final respects. The funeral service began at the Figaro home, where the local order of Foresters, of which John was a member, remembered him as a highly respected and industrious young man. From there, the services moved to the Catholic Church, and finally he was laid to rest in Hillcrest Cemetery. The pall-bearers were soldiers who had served overseas. As John’s remains were lowered into their final resting place, Manuel Catherina blew “Taps” on his cornet. John’s survivors included his parents, his sister Dina Quaill, and his brother Herman Figaro.

Haunted Mendocino Walking Tour – Wear your sweater since you’re bound to get goosebumps listening to the ghostly tales of some of Mendocino’s more infamous residents. We’ll stop at the homes, hideouts, and hangouts of all the well-known specters, and learn a little of the town’s history along the way. Gaze into a mirror where people have seen a woman in Victorian dress looking back at them. Peer into the waves in search of a stallion and the rider who took it into the sea. Did you know not all hauntings are about scary visions or terrifying noises, but that some ghosts haunt with scents? What is that thing that goes bump in the night, followed by sounds of a taut rope swinging from the rafters? Why can guests hear the pitter patter of pets in a building where pets aren’t allowed? What is the area’s oldest known ghost story? And how many spooks haunt the streets of Mendocino? All questions will be answered on this hour and a half long tour through Haunted Mendocino. Join us… if you’re not too scared. June 5 @ 5PM. $25.