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Armando Mendez, cigar historian

Published Oct. 1, 2005

Armando Iglesias Mendez, local Tampa historian and author of Cicudad De Cigars: West Tampa, died Tuesday (July 15, 1997) of natural causes at St. Joseph's Hospital. He was 82.

A West Tampa native, he went to work in 1930 in the cigar industry, learning to hand roll cigars at a time when Tampa's cigarmaking business was thriving. His career in the industry lasted 12 years, but his affection for cigars never died.

Mr. Mendez later worked for Redwing Carrier Co. and retired as superintendent of maintenance after 22 years. On his retirement, his interest in West Tampa history turned into one of his greatest accomplishments.

"The publication of Cicudad De Cigars: West Tampa, which was published in 1994, was a fulfillment of a dream that was very important to him," said his son-in-law, Frank Putrow of Clearwater. His book details the lives and hardships of the early cigarmakers and the history of West Tampa from 1892 to 1925. The publication received recognition from both the Tampa Historical Society, which awarded Mr. Mendez special recognition for his lifetime commitment to preserving and promoting the history of West Tampa, and from the Florida Historical Society.

Mr. Mendez was a member of the Centro Asturiano Society, the Centro Espanol Recreation Committee, the Circulo Cubano De Tampa, the Tampa Historical Society, the Rare Fruit Council International and the Tampa Coin Club. Survivors include his daughter and son-in-law, Carmen and Frank Putrow, Clearwater; two sisters, Mercedes M. Romero and Olivia M. Delgado, both of Tampa; a grandson; two great-grandchildren; and a companion, Eve Dootson, Tampa. Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Blount, Curry & Roel Funeral Homes & Cemeteries, Boza Riverside Chapel, 3809 N Armenia Ave. Graveside services will be at 3 p.m. Monday at Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park, 2860 Sunset Point Road, Clearwater. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Florida Historical Society.