Texas Sunday school teacher, father of 6 dies of coronavirus

Adolph (T.J.) Mendez, who would teach at kindergarten at Austin, Texas' Oakwood Church died of the new coronavirus Thursday.
Adolph (T.J.) Mendez, who would teach at kindergarten at Austin, Texas' Oakwood Church died of the new coronavirus Thursday. | Facebook

A 44-year-old “perfectly healthy” man, a father of six who was teaching children at a church in Texas, died two days after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Adolph (T.J.) Mendez, a teacher of kindergarten students at Oakwood Church in New Braunfels, died at Ascension Seton Medical Center Thursday, his family said, according to Herald-Zeitung, which quoted his daughter, Brenda Johnson, as saying that he had received a positive diagnosis two days before he passed away.

Remembering him as “the best kind” of father, Johnson said he was “perfectly healthy” with no preexisting health conditions.

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“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,” his wife, Angela Mendez, was quoted as saying. “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.”

“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.”

She also recalled that her father would give out stickers to “the kids in their Bibles and the little kindergarteners would give him stickers to put on his name badge.” She said he was “very loved by all.”

Mendez’s church said in a statement that his family “are people of faith, and it’s that faith that has and will continue to sustain them.”

“He was a fine Christian man who was faithful to serve his God and he had a wonderful and supportive family,” the church’s pastor, Ray Still, said. “He was healthy and strong, and in no fault of his own, was stricken with this dreadful virus. His passing should be sobering to all, 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. Follow what our officials have asked of us and we will endure with God’s help.”

There were 665,164 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus with 30,852 deaths around the world as of early Sunday, according to John Hopkins University.

In the United States, there were 124,665 confirmed cases with 1,095 recoveries, and 2,191 deaths. The majority of the deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in New York, at 672.

In Cleburne County in Arkansas, Greers Ferry First Assembly is mourning their beloved long time greeter who died this week from the new coronavirus as the number of infected persons connected to the church rose to 37.

“We currently have 37 that have tested positive, with only a small handful that are still waiting on test results,” Pastor Mark Palenske said in a statement on Facebook Wednesday.

“Many of us are recovering from a long list of symptoms that seem to be common with this virus, and we certainly appreciate the hints of restored health that are headed our way. We are familiar with the expanding scope of the Covid-19 crisis and that daily individuals are being treated and advised accordingly. Our prayers are that God would strengthen them just as he did with us. Please continue to listen to the public directives that we are being guided with.”

In Illinois, several members of a Pentecostal church are either at the hospital or in-home quarantine after at least 43 congregants fell ill following a revival service about a fortnight ago, and at least 10 of them have tested positive.

In a Facebook post Wednesday night, Layna LoCascio, wife of pastor Anthony LoCascio who leads The Life Church of Glenview, said at least 43 of the approximately 80 people who attended a March 15 service at their church have fallen ill and everyone who has been tested for the new coronavirus has come back positive for the virus.

“We have 43 infected (at minimum) from our church or connected to our church from our last service on March 15th. They all haven’t tested but whoever gets a test done ends up being positive, and we all have the same symptoms. It’s just not easy. It’s especially not easy when you’re a leader and a pastor of a precious church and we all got infected together,” she wrote.

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