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Sanchez's death saddens college

Math professor served as role model, mentor, inspiration for students and colleagues

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2006

Updated: Wednesday, September 2, 2009 15:09

Image: Sanchez's death saddens college

Image: Sanchez's death saddens college

File photo

Professor David S. Sanchez taught math for 32 years at San Antonio College.

Former math Professor David S. Sanchez, known to many on this campus as a mentor and friend, died Dec. 1 at the age of 66 from a massive stroke.

Sanchez was laid to rest Dec. 7 at San Fernando Cemetery No. 2.

Following the burial, many of Sanchez's family, friends and colleagues gathered in the Fiesta Room in Loftin Student Center to remember a man who touched many lives.

The room filled with voices recalling warm memories and candid recollections of Sanchez, who retired in August.

Manuel L. Flores, director of enrollment management, was friends with Sanchez for 30 years and also served as a pallbearer at his funeral.

"David was a true friend. I agree that he contributed a lot for students," Flores said. "He did a lot for SAC and the math department."

Flores also recalled Sanchez's weekly basketball game with colleagues from this campus. "I remember he was a very competitive guy."

Sanchez, along with philosophy Professor Richard Schoenig and criminal justice Professor Paul Lechowick, would play basketball in Gym 1 of Candler Physical Education Center.

In a Sept. 9 article in The Ranger on the regular games, Sanchez's competitiveness rang out in his quote, "The only faculty here are all 60 and older. Where are all the 30- and 40- even 20-year-old members? That's an open invitation."

Retired math Professor Ricardo Salinas remembers Sanchez as a trailblazer for the Hispanic community.

Salinas said Sanchez was one of the pioneers who started the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education.

"Its primary objective was to give students access to higher education and access for faculty to be named to top administrative positions," Salinas said.

Counselor Sara Samano remembered Sanchez as her mentor when she attended SAC. Samano was a work-study student in the reading department enrolled in college algebra with another professor.

When Samano was having trouble with her course, Sanchez became a mentor and tutor to Samano. "He took me under his wing and I got an A in college algebra," Samano said.

She said she will miss Sanchez's feistiness. She said she often referred students to him.

"He was one of the most popular faculty members," Samano said.

Present at the memorial gathering were Sanchez's three children, David A. Sanchez, Monique Menconi and Davin Sanchez.

Menconi and her older brother David A. Sanchez were children from a first marriage.

Davin Sanchez was his only child from his second marriage.

Estranged for 11 years, the two older siblings had within the last year begun communicating with their father.

David S. Sanchez took the initiative and contacted his two children by mail.

Through letters and phone calls, Menconi began to become better acquainted with the father who was absent most of her life.

She was pleased to find they had many things in common.

Menconi, who likes to garden, found Sanchez was an avid gardener.

"He had lots of house plants at his home. Inside his house was filled with tropical plants," she said.

Menconi, who is a chef, also recalls her father was a great cook who loved to eat out.

She did not get the chance to fully understand her father.

She saw him only after he had fallen into a coma from the stroke.

Menconi corresponded with her father through phone calls and letters. Now she wishes she could have gotten to know him better.

"It's just circumstances with him. He was really a great man," Menconi said. "We really felt lucky we had the chance to spend the few days with him in the hospital."

Menconi feels reassured that Sanchez didn't leave without some closure.

"He was working on getting his family together. Maybe this was God's way of fulfilling his wish," Menconi said as she gazed across the room filled with Sanchez's friends and family.

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