A Bryan man who was killed in a Tuesday morning traffic collision was remembered Wednesday as a generous, active man who put family above everything.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Jose Joaquin Sandoval had been passing through Burleson County on Texas 21 around 7 a.m. Tuesday on his way to a job site when a sport-utility vehicle collided with the back of his towed trailer. The trailer detached from Sandoval's pickup, and his vehicle was thrown out of control. The truck rolled several times and ejected Sandoval.
The father of three and owner of a local concrete business, Sandoval Concrete, which had been in business for 14 years, Sandoval immigrated to Bryan from central Mexico in 1990 and had built a life in Brazos County.
The oldest of four siblings, Sandoval has a son, Jose Manuel Sandoval, 27, and twin daughters Sonia and Susana, who are 23. Sandoval remained close to his extended family, cared for his mother, Concepcion Munoz Saldierna, and loved spending quality time with his girlfriend, Liza Martinez. Family members said Sandoval's death has dealt a blow to all branches of the family tree.
"We didn't really process my brother's death until after we told our mother about it," Sandoval's sister Maria told The Eagle. "We thought: What's going to happen when Mom finds out?
"My other brother called and called his cellphone when [Sandoval] didn't show up, and there was no answer, no answer," his sister said. "Finally we got an answer ... and it was not my brother."
Jose Manuel Sandoval remembers the last conversation he had with his dad. Sunday was Jose Manuel's birthday, and Sandoval had called his son to wish him a happy birthday. Over the phone he told Jose Manuel how impressed he was seeing the 27-year-old progress in his engineering aspirations, and how happy he was that his son had finally met the love of his life and gotten engaged.
"He was really proud," Jose Manuel said, his voice full of emotion.
Nothing mattered more to Sandoval than his family: his children, his siblings, his parents, his nieces and nephews, his cousins and aunts and uncles. He lived his life based off a strong conviction of serving others in humility. Maria Sandoval said her brother would help any person with anything at all and had a heart for animals, always caring for stray dogs he found wandering the streets.
"His view of life was that what you have isn't yours," Maria Sandoval explained. "Whatever you own -- give it to others. Put others before yourself. ... There was never anything my brother would hesitate to do for you."
For fun, Sandoval loved to run. His dream was to finish the Ironman Triathlon in Boston. Although he never made it to Boston, he did complete an Ironman race in Texas and successfully ran 20 triathlons, as well as marathons hosted at Texas A&M. Running and training for Ironman was a bonding experience Sandoval shared with Martinez.
"One thing that is going to stay with me is that he had so much patience with me," Martinez said. "He always said to me that there is a solution to everything."
Jose Manuel Sandoval pointed out that as a businessman, Sandoval elected to support hometown companies, only purchasing his contracting supplies from Bryan-College Station businesses. He wanted to establish strong and personal relationships with the professionals of the Aggie community. His love for locals was reflected after his death, as many area companies dedicated money toward his funeral or showed their support in other ways.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Memorial Funeral Chapel in Bryan. A graveside service will then be at noon in Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery, located on Old Kurten Road in Bryan.