The United States is currently in the third month of knowing COVID-19. Additional cases in the thousands are confirmed everyday.
As of April 23, confirmed cases in the U.S. was reported to be 865,585, according to the CDC.
Texas, in turn, makes up a total of 22,806 reported cases with 9,156 patients recovered and 593 fatalities, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Although KTXS reports 23 confirmed cases in Abilene compared to Abilene Reporter News’ 31 [as of April 3], it seems that COVID-19 is increasingly more likely to affect the ACU community with each passing day.
John Atzenhoffer, sophomore marketing major from Victoria, was affected by this through the loss of his grandfather due to COVID-19 complications.
Clarence Gustaf Atzenhoffer, known as CG or “Bubba” to those who were close to him, was born on July 22, 1931, and passed away April 10.
Atzenhoffer said although it really hurt him and his family, it was just a matter of time before his grandfather passed.
“He was in the hospital since before Christmas [due to heart problems],” Atzenhoffer said. “In February, he went back to Houston to see if he qualified as a candidate for open-heart surgery. Because he was too old and they didn’t have the equipment to help him without the procedure, he didn’t qualify as a candidate. As he stayed in the hospital he started to show flu-like symptoms, so they tested him [for COVID-19] and he tested positive.”
Due to social-distancing rules recommended by the CDC and enforced by state governments, Atzenhoffer and his family are unsure when a funeral will be held for his grandfather.
“At this point we don’t know when this thing will blow over,” Atzenhoffer said. “But when we have that ceremony, it will be a party. There should be a ton of people coming to see him.”
Even with this loss, Atzenhoffer said he would rather use this time to remember his grandfather fondly.
“He had died on Good Friday, which is funny because Easter and Spring were his favorite times of the year. He always invited the whole family to come and do Easter egg hunts at the ranch. It was his favorite time because he got to see everyone and everyone got to see him; it was just a big ol’ party.”
Growing up, Atzenhoffer said that even though he was from the city, he always got to experience his grandfather’s way of life.
“When I was growing up I was a city boy, but whenever I could on the weekends or when I didn’t have school, I would go and help my grandpa on the ranch,” Atzenhoffer said.
He said, other than helping his grandfather on the ranch, other things he did with him included learning to rope and play games, like checkers.
Atzenhoffer said he remembers his grandfather by was how hard and long he worked during his lifetime.
“In the morning, for 30 years, he worked at the local DuPont plant, then he would go to the ranch, work with his cows during the day, and finally he would end the day by reffing football games, either college or NFL. He was always on the move. He never stopped moving unless it was to sleep.”
However, Atzenhoffer said his grandfather had always worked long and hard days since he was in school.
“When he was young he knew the true definition of work,” Atzenhoffer said. “He would wake up at 3 a.m. with his grandpa and sister to go milk their cows and bottle it. He would then deliver the milk to the doorsteps of the customers while running behind the truck so he could finish in time to go to school. He would then walk to school with his sister and end the day with football practice afterwards.”
Although his grandfather wasn’t known all throughout Victoria, where he resided, Atzenhoffer said he knew the right people and that he was involved in the city one way or another.
“It wasn’t like he was the ‘Lebron James’ of Victoria,” Atzenhoffer said. “Everyone didn’t know him, but the right people knew him. The well-known people of Victoria knew my grandfather. He was a Korean War [veteran] so he knew the vets in Victoria. He would ride in parades with his veteran friends with the trailer being pulled by a truck his family’s dealership owned.”
Beside all of these characteristics, Atzenhoffer said the biggest thing about his grandfather was that everyone who knew him loved him.
“He always had a joke,” Atzenhoffer said. “He was able to talk about a lot of things, tell people lots of stories, but he always had a joke. He was a fantastic man. Every single person loved him.”