Adolph (T.J.) Mendez and family

Adolph (T.J.) Mendez died Thursday afternoon at Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin from complications of the COVID-19 virus, according to his family. He was 44.

Mendez was born in San Antonio and lived in New Braunfels for the last 14 years.

Brenda Johnson, Mendez’s daughter, said her father was tested last week for the coronavirus and received a positive diagnosis on Tuesday.

She said her father had been “perfectly healthy” and had no underlying health conditions.

Johnson described Mendez as “the best kind” of father.

“He was kind,” Johnson said. “He was patient. He cared about others. He loved his family so much. He was very involved in our community and our church.”

Mendez taught kindergarten at Oakwood Church where his students called him “Mr. Sticker Man.”

“Every Sunday they would give out stickers to the kids in their bibles and the little kindergarteners would give him stickers to put on his name badge. He was very loved by all.”

Johnson also spoke about walking down the aisle with her father on her wedding day.

“It was really special to get him to do that for me,” she said. “I looked at him and told him that he wasn’t allowed to look at me or I would start crying. Before they opened the chapel doors, he looked down on me and I looked at him and we both started crying. It was the sweetest thing.”

He also enjoyed jumping on his trampoline with his three boys, she said.

“T.J. was a devoted Christian man,” said Pastor Ray Still of Oakwood Church. “He loved his wife and children, his Lord and the Lord’s church and served it faithfully. He will be greatly missed. All the people of Oakwood Church grieve with his wife and children and their loss.”

Still added that everyone in the community should take the coronavirus messages seriously.

“They need to listen to both our elected and health officials that are giving us advice and not to ignore this,” Still said. “It is serious, and God would want us to respect authority and respect those who ask something of us. We need to do that for the common good of the entire community."

Kathleen Krueger, former New Braunfels mayor pro-tem and director of development and public relations at Hope Hospice, said sometimes you meet a person “whose soul shines so brightly that all you can do is smile when you see them.”

"Mr. Mendez and his family are those kinds of people — radiantly healthy, beautiful, kind, joyful, so in love with each other, their church, and their community,” Krueger said. "COVID-19 has extinguished a bright light — has robbed yet another family. They will need all the love and support we can give as they journey through the dark days ahead without this strong, handsome man by their side.”

Mayor Barron Casteel also expressed sympathies to the family.

“Someone close to the family talked to me on Monday and my heart goes out to the family,” Casteel said. "He had his whole life ahead of him. I will grieve for him.”

County Judge Sherman Krause issued a statement Thursday afternoon.

“Our hearts, as well as our thoughts and our prayers, go out to this man’s family and friends,” Krause said. “This tragic news emphasizes the need for all of us to make sure we are taking every effort to maintain social distancing measures and protecting ourselves, our loved ones and the most vulnerable among us from contracting COVID-19.”

Mendez was father to three boys and three girls. He also leaves behind his wife, Angela, and other family members.

Angela Mendez said her husband was a healthy man who didn’t smoke or drink. He worked out, ate healthy and took vitamins every day, she said.

"You hear that the people who die are older or have previous health conditions but he was neither and the virus took him down hard,” she said. "It can happen to anyone, it’s not just a story that happens to people across the world. It’s here and it’s real and it can kill anyone, just like it did my husband."

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(17) comments

Patty Loving

Guys don’t fool yourselves into thinking there is any rules to this virus yet. It still is so new and much to learn. Listened to an interview with Dr Sanjay Gupta and Dr Fauci last night. Dr Fauci confirmed - there are a few cases (he emphasized Very Few) of perfectly healthy people who have succumbed to COVID-19. They are conducting in depth studies around this, to determine if there is a genetic predisposition that makes some people more vulnerable to the ravages of the covid-19 pathogen. Read up on HIV - some people can carry the virus and never get sick. It’s eye opening - remember to practice social distance!

Juan Manuel Martinez

If you believe in Jesus you will be saved. Nobody knows if he was healthy or not only a doctor would know plus nobody knows if he communicated with a Travel person or he himself. I believe there's a stronger version of the virus.

Mark WAGNER

Oakwood pastor says:"God would want us to respect authority and respect those who ask something of us."

Being, occupationally, so knowledgeable about the Almighty's state of mind, shouldn't he have given his unfortunate congregant a heads up that God was wanting to strike him dead? [Presumably, on the "respect" issue quoted above.]

John Skinner

We may never know the details of this man. So sorry for the family.

Arthur Pattillo

Very sorry what happened God bless you all love Arthur

Guy Gadbous

If a "perfectly healthy" man can die, what chance do the rest of us have?

We are doomed.....

Dave Gizar

My heart goes out to the family sorry for your loss. That being said nobody ever said that an otherwise healthy person could not die from this only that your chances were far better for recover than someone with underlying issues. Again sorry for your loss.

Chelsea Rogers

I am so sorry for him. Not to mention his family. Several sources have confirmed he has been on dialysis since his thirties. Were you aware of this? Would you consider this “perfectly healthy”?

Lauren Kay

He was not in dialysis, he was perfectly healhty, he didn’t even drink or smoke, I’ve known his family for the last 14 years

JASON SILVESTRY

I hear your concern, but be careful spreading rumors, Adolf was a specimen of health, if anyone is confused about this only happens to folks with a weakened immune system your foolishly mistaken. He loved Basketball and could play full court for hours. Please ask yourselves if your really essential? stay at home if at all possible to help stem this from advancing, each one of us effects so many in the way this passes.

Leon Kowalski

There are other "perfectly healthy" people who have died, allegedly due to the COVID-19. I have seen exactly one such report with more information, which was only "cardiac arrest". It's frustratingly vague. I'm just wondering, when it comes for me, am I going to fall over dead instantly, or suffer for days beforehand? How much time elapsed between Adolph suspecting something was wrong and him passing?

Chris Kuhn

You are disseminating disinformation in an effort to make folks think this virus will not impact them and will only affect "others." Change the channel from Fox News and just stop.

Chelsea Rogers

There is no need to be rude. Just because I’m not in front of you, doesn’t mean you should type whatever comes to mind. I’m trying to gather facts and create my own opinion (without watching any news or tv for that matter), just as you should. Please stay safe and be kind.

Elton Schwab

Prayers for the family. Sadly the rest of us need to know what does the health dept. know about how he may have contracted the virus. Also his whereabouts in NB. So sorry for this families loss

Chris Lykins Staff
Chris Lykins

Unfortunately the health department won't be releasing that type of information. In fact, they won't even identify the deceased because of medical privacy laws. We only have this because friends and family agreed to talk to us on the record.

Kim Carp

I don't understand this, can you explain? I thought Texas death records were public information. Some TX counties have Name, age, address, cause of death, etc posted online.

cheddar baggins

Title III, Chapter 193 of Texas law only provides that "the name of the place and the specific number of the plot, crypt, lawn crypt, or niche in which a decedent's remains will be interred or, if the remains will not be interred, the place and manner of other disposition" be made public. https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/HS/htm/HS.193.htm

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