Fort Worth

‘An Angel on Earth,' Fort Worth Grandmother Who Died of COVID-19 Remembered for Helping Others

A Fort Worth grandmother fondly referred to as 'Mother Teresa' for her kindness is being remembered by loved ones

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An American Airlines reservations agent who died last week of COVID-19 is being remembered as a loving grandmother and a devoted employee who treated passengers like members of her own family.

Patricia Munoz died last week after about three weeks at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital.

She was 60.

Former co-worker Elizabeth Thompson called her "Mother Teresa."

"She would be there for four hours on her own time to make sure when that passenger got to where he was going, everything was smooth sailing for them,” Thompson said.

When Thompson's mother became ill, Munoz volunteered to work her shifts -- for three months, Thompson said.

Munoz moved here with her family from Mexico City looking for a better life, and found it in Fort Worth, where she worked at American for 25 years.

"I remember mom meeting passengers on the phone who were stranded or who were traveling to a funeral, especially a lot of immigrant families, and she would bring them to stay at our house,” her daughter Dee Lara said.

Longtime friend Susan Huston said Munoz always went above and beyond to help people, even strangers.

"An angel on Earth is really a real good way to describe her,” Huston said. “If we all lived like Patricia, it would be a wonderful world."

A few weeks ago, the woman who always helped everyone else found herself in need.

Munoz got the virus and checked into the hospital.

Meanwhile, one by one, the virus spread among her entire family, including her 88-year-old mother and her daughters.

As Munoz’s health went downhill, her niece Jeannie Campos was allowed a short visit.

Munoz was concerned about Campos getting the virus too.

"She was like, what are you doing here, mi hija?” Campos said. “And she said, 'You need to leave.' I'm like, 'No, I came here to see you.'"

"I was just praying with her and telling her how everyone loved her and how she was not alone and that God was with her,” Campos said. “And we prayed for a little bit. She was happy but her eyes were so sad and she looked like she gave up."

After Munoz was put on a breathing machine, nurses set up an iPad so family members could be with her -- at least virtually.

They played music for her over Zoom calls and showed family photos.

“We'll see each other soon, mom,” her daughter told her in Spanish. “I love you a lot.”

"She just fought for another 10 days on that ventilator, trying to make it home,” Lara said. “She was really heroic."

Years ago, Munoz told her children not to cry when she died but to dance and sing and celebrate her life.

So as doctors disconnected the breathing machine that had been keeping her alive, that's exactly what they did, remembering her life of good deeds and good times, and shedding a few tears too.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for funeral expenses.

According to the Tarrant County Health Department, 132,591 people have tested positive for the virus and 1,362 have died.

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