A Texas faith community is in shock after losing one of its long-time members to the COVID-19 virus. Adolph “T.J.” Mendez, 44, was described as a “perfectly healthy” father-of-six who did not have any serious underlying medical conditions prior to contracting the disease.
Mendez’s daughter, Brenda Johnson, told the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung that her father underwent a coronavirus last week and was given a positive diagnosis on Tuesday. He died Thursday at Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin.
Johnson described him as a “kind” and “patient” man who “cared about others.”
“He loved his family so much,” she added. “He was very involved in our community and our church.”
In a statement posted to Facebook, the pastor of Oakwood Baptist Church, Ray Still, said his community was shocked by the passing of their beloved Sunday School teacher.
“Our hearts are saddened for T.J.’s wife and children and they remain in our prayers. T.J.’s family are people of faith, and it’s that faith that has and will continue to sustain them,” he wrote. “He was a fine Christian man who was faithful to serve his God and he had a wonderful and supportive family. He was healthy and strong, and in no fault of his own, was stricken with this dreadful virus.”
Pastor still added that T.J.’s death “should be sobering to all” and remind us “that this pandemic must be taken seriously.”
“God the giver of all good things, has given us a brain and we should use it for the benefit of our family and our communities,” he wrote. “Follow what our officials have asked of us and we will endure with God’s help.”
According to Mendez’s wife Angela, T.J. followed a strict fitness regimen and refrained from drinking or smoking. He worked out, ate healthily and took vitamins on a daily basis, 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,” Angela warned. “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.”